Regardless of your thoughts of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s health initiatives, including the controversial soda ban, one thing is becoming clear: they’re working.
The trans fat ban that went into effect in 2007 has had an appreciable impact on the overall health of New Yorkers, according to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine July 17. On average, New Yorkers cut their per-meal intake of trans fats by 2.4 grams.
The trans fat study was far from the first piece of evidence supporting Bloomberg’s policy. Life expectancy, according to The Lancet, is now growing faster in New York than any city in the nation. Between 1987 and 2009, the life span of the average New Yorker grew by ten years, outpacing the rest of the country.
Mayor Bloomberg’s policies — including calorie labels, a smoking ban, and the installation of bike lanes — certainly help, but the city is also benefitting from broader socioeconomic shifts and developments in health. Antiretroviral drugs, for example, have tempered the impact of HIV/AIDS. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke have also declined, the Lancet said.
Self-selection may play a part as well. As Census figures pointed out, Americans — and twentysomethings in particular — are choosing to move to urban areas. Offering a high quality of life, one of Bloomberg’s priorities, certainly doesn’t hurt.