In collaboration with the NYU School of Medicine, the Health Department analyzed 2004 and 2013-14 data around obesity, diabetes, depression, mercury levels among adults, the correlation between sleep patterns and sexual orientation, and race disparities in cardiovascular risk factors
July 10, 2018 – The Health Department and the NYU School of Medicine researchers today published a series of studies in The Journal of Urban Health analyzing 2004 and 2013-14 data around six topics relevant to the health of New Yorkers: obesity, diabetes, depression, mercury levels among adults, the correlation between sleep patterns and sexual orientation, and gender and race disparities in cardiovascular risk factors. The data for these studies were collected through the NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES), which provides valuable information about the physical and mental health of more than 1,500 New Yorkers.
“NYC HANES is an extensive health survey, with laboratory testing, and physical measurements including height, weight and blood pressure, and provides a unique way to look at the physical and emotional health of New Yorkers over time and understand the impact of programs and policies,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “For example, we were able to show that there was a nearly 50 percent reduction in mercury levels of New Yorkers over this 10 year period during which there was a large-scale educational campaign to reduce consumption of fish with known high mercury content. This is a great success for New Yorkers.”
The studies showed that the numbers of New Yorkers who were obese increased and diabetes rates continue to be high with persistent racial and ethnic disparities. More than 8 percent of adult New Yorkers were suffering from depression. In November 2015, the City launched ThriveNYC, an $850 million initiative with a goal to change the conversation surrounding mental illness, reduce stigma and provide greater access to mental health care. Studies also showed that more than 40 percent of adults had difficulty sleeping, there were gender and racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease risk factors, and blood mercury level declined.
The Health Department has supported faith- and community-based organizations to voluntarily adopt the NYC Food Standards, an evidence-based nutrition policy for meals and snacks served at schools, senior centers, homeless shelters and other City agency facilities and programs. Further, the Health Department has expanded Shop Healthy NYC, a program that targets neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and limited access to nutritious foods, to engage community residents, food retailers, food suppliers and distributors to increase access to healthy foods, including making low-calorie beverages more available. Additionally, the agency supports healthy eating through nutrition education programming at farmers’ markets and child care centers, as well as the Health Bucks Program, which provides $2 coupons redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables at any New York City farmers’ market. The Health Department has also released a series of public education campaigns to raise awareness about the negative health effects of sugary-sweetened beverages and promote drinking water. Campaigns include: “Sounds Healthy” (2014-15), “Skinny Kids” (2015), and “Drink NYC Tap Water” (2016) and "Sour Side of Sweet" (2017).
Join the BEAT (Be active, Eat healthy, Act on cardiovascular health risks, Take prescribed medications) focuses on neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem and Queens that have high levels of obesity, pre-diabetes, hypertension and related mortality. The program promotes strategies such as free exercise classes and increasing the availability of healthy food options with a goal to reduce obesity and deaths from cardiovascular diseases. NYC Care Calls is a study testing the effectiveness of telephone-based self-management support to improve A1C control for patients with diabetes. Public Health Detailing works with primary care providers and their staff to promote preventive health interventions in practice settings. In March 2017, the public health detailing team launched a diabetes campaign, including a diabetes action kit with materials for providers to address diabetes prevention and care.
In November 2015, the City launched ThriveNYC, an $850 million initiative with a goal to change the conversation surrounding mental illness, reduce stigma and provide greater access to mental health care. In 2016, the City launched NYC Well, which offers free, confidential mental health support, information, referrals and crisis counseling at any hour of the day in over 200 languages. The toll-free help line can be reached by phone, text or online chat. As of April 30, NYC Well has handled more than 340,000 calls, texts, chats and online mobile crisis referrals — an average of 18,900 per month since its launch.
About NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES)
The New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is a population-based examination survey of New York City adults, modeled on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. NYC HANES provides valuable information on the health of New Yorkers including the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of chronic conditions, environmental exposures and mental health screening.
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