New York City Mayor Eric Adams is trying to get New Yorkers to live longer, healthier lives. And now he has a plan to do so.
Adams unveiled his "HealthyNYC" plan Wednesday in an effort to bring the life expectancy up to 83 years by 2030. That would be a marked improvement from the mark of 80.7 years after falling for nearly two years between 2019 and 2021, according to the mayor's office.
"On average, New Yorkers can expect to live two fewer years than they could in 2019, the first marked decline after a century of progress," said Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.
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City data shows that drug overdoses and suicides continue to lead to premature deaths. But now the city-wide effort will try to "provide guideposts for our nation and its people," said Vasan.
"Not only recovering years lost during the pandemic but also surpassing our previous high by tackling chronic disease, violence, maternal mortality, overdose, and more," Adams said. "By refocusing all of our public health work around the goal of helping people live longer lives, we’ll build a healthier, more prosperous city where everyone can thrive."
Before COVID, in 2019, life expectancy for New Yorkers averaged 82.6 years. That fell to 78 a year later, then rebounded to 80. The city wants to bring that back up, and to reduce the existing racial disparities.
The mayor's office said it aims to reduce deaths connected to childbirth by 10%, overdose deaths by 25% and reduce heart- and diabetes-related deaths by 5% in the next seven years. Other goals include bringing down homicide deaths by 30%; deaths from screenable cancers (like lung, breast, colon, cervical and prostate cancers) by 20%.
The mayor made a personal connection to his mother, who suffered from diabetes for 15 years.
"I believe if we had caught some of the chronic diseases she was facing, she could’ve been with us even longer," said Adams.
The mayor said he expects every city agency to examine issues, like housing, and make decisions to help residents live longer.
"If you don’t have stable housing, that affects sleep and mood," Dr. Vasan said. "If you don’t have transportation, you can’t get to doctors appointments to get routine screening done."
On Thursday, Queens Councilmember Lynn Schulman — who chairs the Health Committee — will introduce legislation setting benchmarks over five years to make sure the initiative is meeting its goals.
"'HealthyNYC' marks a significant step forward in our commitment to the well-being of all New Yorkers," said Schulman. "I am proud to partner with Mayor Adams on such a comprehensive and ambitious plan to make New York City the healthiest city in the country."