Where to Live If You Want to Live Longest?

Believe it or not, it's Manhattan.  According to The New York Times' Sam Roberts, "Since 1985, the life expectancy for Manhattan residents has increased more than that of any other county in the country, according to a new analysis, which attributed the increase to gentrification and to a healthier lifestyle."

Surprisingly, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens also were among the 12 counties where longevity increased the most (my husband is a dentist in Queens -- does that count?), Roberts reports.

We just learned yesterday that living two exits apart off a California highway can cost you nine years of your life.

"In Manhattan, the average lifespan rose nearly 13 years for men and more than 8 years for women over the 25 years through 2010," Roberts relates in his story.    

“Our researchers think it’s more than economics,”  Roberts quotes William Heisel, communications director at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which conducted the analysis based on census data and health statistics.  “When we have looked at changes in income to see how they line up to changes in life expectancy, sometimes the trend corresponds and sometimes it does not,” he told Roberts. 

You can hate him or love him, but credit NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  “In Manhattan’s case, we think that the drive to implement smoking bans, trans fat bans, and to make the city more amenable to physical activity and healthy food choices has had and will have an impact," Heisel told Roberts. "The early and aggressive interventions into the AIDS epidemic are part of the story, too.”        

Roberts notes that Manhattan and Brooklyn, especially, "have recorded an influx of wealthier white residents. The National Center for Health Statistics reported this week that while the gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites is lower than it has ever been, whites are still likely to live four years longer, on average."

“New Yorkers today are living longer and healthier than ever before, and substantially longer than people in the rest of the country, in part because of public health initiatives to combat H.I.V. infection, heart disease, cancer, smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity” Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner told Roberts. 

With Bloomberg's recent "active design" initiative (buildings that make you move, like ones with no elevators, just stairs), the trend continues.

Just remember this the next time someone races you to a seat on the subway, or is texting dreamily and won't move over on  the sidewalk.

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