"Public health is purchasable. Within natural limitations, a community can determine its own death rate."
- Hermann M. Biggs, NYC Department of Health, 1914
The Health Department launched a new television ad campaign highlighting the risks of prescription painkillers, also known as opioid analgesics. In New York City, the opioid analgesic overdose death rate increased 267 percent between 2000 and 2011, followed by a slight decrease in 2012. In 2012, Staten Islanders had the highest rate (10.1 per 100,000) of opioid analgesic overdose deaths – more than three times as high as all other boroughs.
The Health Department launched a new ad campaign warning people that listening to headphones at high volume can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and irreversible hearing loss. The ads encourage people to protect their hearing by turning down the volume when using headphones. The ads will run in subway cars, on the internet and on radio.
At an event commemorating World AIDS Day, the Health Department today released a new annual HIV data report showing that over the past ten years, HIV diagnoses in New York City have decreased by 40 percent. Despite this progress, the report shows that 3,141 New Yorkers were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2012 and, of those, 20 percent already had AIDS when diagnosed. To assist those who are newly diagnosed with HIV obtain the medical and support services necessary to maintain their health, the Health Department announced a new mobile texting service called HIV Care. The service includes a suite of confidential options, such as medication and appointment reminders, that are available by texting CARE to 877877.
The Health Department unveiled a new anti-obesity campaign educating New Yorkers on the potential health risks, for both children and adults, of consuming too many sugary drinks. The ads highlight how sugary drinks can bring on obesity and diabetes, both of which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke. Accompanying these ads is a new Health Department Epi Data Brief on diabetes and its complications. According to the new report, in 2011, there were over 20,000 hospitalizations for diabetes and nearly 5,500 adults on dialysis due to diabetes, a 65% increase in the number of adults on dialysis due to diabetes since 2000.
The Health Department announced new efforts today to encourage New Yorkers to get their influenza vaccination before peak influenza season hits in January. Influenza is a respiratory infection that, together with pneumonia, is the third leading cause of death in New York City, killing more than 2,000 people a year. The Health Department launched a new ad campaign reminding New Yorkers that influenza germs are everywhere and that vaccination is the best protection against the infection. The four new ads will run in subway cars through February. In addition, the Health Department kicked off a pilot program at 15 public elementary schools that will allow children to get vaccinated at no out-of-pocket cost.
The Health Department launched a new website that offers a comprehensive view of the nutritional content of foods sold at the nation’s largest restaurant chains. MenuStat is a free, public website that contains restaurant nutrition data from 66 restaurant chains; data is included for every restaurant in the top 100 restaurants by sales that made nutrition data available in 2012 and 2013. The site sources data from the restaurant websites, provides historical, date-stamped information, and puts it into a format that allows for comparison across restaurants, food categories, and over time. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley made the announcement this morning during his keynote speech at The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting.
As New Yorkers turned back their clocks this weekend, they were also reminded to change the batteries in their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to help protect themselves from carbon monoxide, an odorless, poisonous gas that can cause serious illness and death. Exposure to carbon monoxide can happen year round, but the risk for carbon monoxide poisoning increases during the heating season (Oct 1 – May 31), when people begin using home heating systems.
The Health Department today launched an ad campaign highlighting the free, confidential crisis counseling services still available to help New Yorkers cope with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. As the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaches, Project Hope crisis counselors can provide emotional support and help people find ways to cope with the traumatic impact the storm had on their lives. The ads, which highlight the hope and resilience of New Yorkers, will run in subway cars beginning this week through the month of January.
The New York City Health Department and the CUNY School of Public Health announced that they are conducting the second New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES). From now until early next year, adults from 3,000 randomly selected NYC households will be asked to answer survey questions and take a physical exam that will provide a picture of the city’s health almost 10 years after the first NYC HANES. Funded by the de Beaumont Foundation, the survey enables researchers to examine changes in New Yorkers’ health over two points in time and assess the impact of several health policies that have occurred since 2004.
The Health Department released the City’s first-ever plan for reducing illness and death from the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a disease that now accounts for more annual deaths nationwide than HIV/AIDS. In Hepatitis C in New York City: State of the Epidemic and Action Plan, the Health Department calls for new efforts to expand testing for HCV and to ensure that all people with HCV infection are evaluated for treatment.
The number of young children with lead poisoning in New York City in 2012 is at a historic low, the Health Department recently announced in its annual report to the City Council. In 2012 there were 923 children under 6 years of age identified with lead poisoning, a 22% decline compared to 2011, when the total was 1,183. The number of childhood lead poisoning cases has declined 66% since 2005 when NYC implemented Local Law 1, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act, and an 85% decline since 2000.
The City of New York has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Justice to continue the work of RxStat, a multi-agency partnership designed to address prescription painkiller abuse.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced New York City's air quality has reached the cleanest levels in over 50 years, with dramatic reductions in pollutants in the air since the launch of long-term sustainability initiative, PlaNYC. The cleaner air enjoyed by New Yorkers today is preventing 800 deaths 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations from lung and cardiovascular diseases annually, compared to 2008.
The Health Department released its five-year progress report on Take Care New York 2012: A Policy for a Healthier New York showing progress in nearly all of the priority areas set forth in the 2012 agenda. Life expectancy for New Yorkers is at a record high, since 2007 fewer New Yorkers are smoking, and major strides have been made in reducing mortality from HIV/AIDS and premature cardiovascular disease. The City has also seen increases in HIV testing, improved air quality, and decreased teen pregnancy rates. Influenced by New York City’s health initiatives, the life expectancy at birth in 2010 in New York City is 80.9 years – 2.2 years greater than the national average of 78.7 in 2010.
In response to cases of hepatitis A infections in an employee and four customers at New Hawaii Sea restaurant, located at 1475 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx, the Health Department is urging customers who ate at the restaurant, either in-store, through catering or delivery, between September 7th and September 19th to receive hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible. Any leftover food from this restaurant should also be discarded.