Living

New York's lesson on how to live longer

Interesting fact of the day courtesy of a posting on Men’s Health: New Yorkers appear to be getting healthier year after year and as a result are enjoying a longer lifespan than their fellow citizens Stateside.

New York City health

Masterfile

Interesting fact of the day courtesy of a posting on Men’s Health: New Yorkers appear to be getting healthier year after year and, as a result, are enjoying a longer lifespan than their fellow citizens Stateside.

The post cites a study by researchers at the University of Washington that found residents of the Big Apple live three years longer than the national average, ending their blissful term of life around 80.6 years old.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that New York City’s status as a healthy living residence is relatively recent. Over the past 20 years, the life expectancy of a New Yorker has increased by more than 13 years. 

Naturally, researchers are wondering what accounts for the boon in years of life. They hypothesize that the city’s public health initiatives that banned smoking in public places and trans fats in restaurants as well as greater public awareness about health overall is in large part responsible for the shift. 

Statistics seem to support the theory.

“More than 60% of the increase in life expectancy since 2000 can be attributed to reductions in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. In the past decade, death rates for heart disease alone fell by some 25%,” reports Ted Alcorn in an article about the study in the academic journal The Lancet.

So what can you learn from New Yorkers that may positively affect your longevity? For starters, you can watch your caloric intake and take more of a personal interest in the kinds of foods you’re eating, avoiding trans fats and sodas above all. You can even go all NYC on unhealthy fats and ban them from your pantry altogether as the city did with its restaurants a few years ago.

Next, you can stop smoking or avoid secondhand smoke. To curb smoking NYC banned the activity in public places and increased taxation on purchases of cigarettes.

Finally, you can simply be more active. To encourage a more mobile lifestyle, NYC officials created hundreds of miles of bicycle lanes. While it’s not always practical or safe to bike your daily commute, there’s no reason why you can’t use two wheels — or two feet for that matter — to pick up milk and bread after work. If the end result is increased time with friends and family, the post-dinner stroll seems well worth it.