Health & City Services

Improving Public Health

Improving the health of all New Yorkers was a top priority for Mike Bloomberg, who quickly became a national leader on public health. After New York City banned smoking in bars and restaurants, cities and states across the nation – and countries around the world - followed suit. Thanks in part to the Mayor’s public health initiatives, life expectancy in New York City grew by more than three years.

Life expectancy up to 80.9 years
Life expectancy up to 80.9 years from 2001 to 2010.
300,000 fewer smokers in NYC today than in 2002.
300,000 fewer NYC smokers in 2013 than in 2002. 
NYC was first in the country to pioneer several effective obesity combating initiatives including the trans fats, calorie counts, salt and soda initiatives.
First in the country to pioneer several effective obesity combating initiatives including the trans fats, calorie counts, salt and soda initiatives.

Progress: Improving Public Health


Life Expectancy: From 2001 to 2010, life expectancy increased by 36 months to 80.9 years, 2.2 years longer than the national average.

Infant Mortality: From 2001 to 2011, infant mortality decreased by 30%.


Smoke Free-Air Act: In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg signed the Smoke-Free Air Act banning smoking in bars and restaurants. By 2013, the Bloomberg administration increased the tax on cigarettes, launched an anti-smoking advertising campaign, and distributed free nicotine patches.

Smoking Rates: As a result of the Bloomberg administration’s comprehensive approach, smoking declined 28% from 21.5% in 2002 to 15.5% in 2012. There were more than 300,000 fewer smokers in 2013 than in 2002.

Teen Smoking: Fell by 50% from 2001 to 2011.


Childhood Obesity: Among NYC kids (ages 5 to 14), childhood obesity decreased 5.5% (from 21.9% in 2006-07 to 20.7 percent in 2010-11), while in the rest of the country the rate continued to rise.

Sugary Drinks: Reported sugar sweetened beverage consumption dropped 13% from 2008 to 2012.

Trans Fats: The Bloomberg administration banned trans fats from restaurants to help prevent heart disease. A study that examined lunch purchases before and after the ban was imposed found an average drop of 2.4 grams of trans fat. In 2013, the Federal government announced that it would ban trans fats in nearly all foods.

Calorie Counts: In 2008, the Bloomberg administration required calorie posting at chain restaurants to help consumers make more informed choices. Subsequently, the Federal government adopted a similar rule applying to chain restaurants across the United States.

Salt: The National Salt Reduction Initiative, a partnership of over 90 city and state health authorities and organizations coordinated by New York City, aimed to lower sodium in foods by 25% over a five year period through voluntary corporate commitments. Twenty-one companies met their voluntary pledge to 2012 sodium reduction targets.

Food Standards: The City's first formal food standards ensured that the 225 million snacks and meals served annually by City agencies were healthier than ever. New York City was the first major city in the country to set nutrition standards for all foods purchased or served.

Health Bucks: This program allowed anyone spending $5 worth of food stamps at a farmers’ to market receive a $2 Health Buck coupon.

Food Deserts: Four supermarkets opened in “food deserts” through the FRESH (Food Retail Expansion to Promote Health) program.

Green Carts: Mayor Bloomberg signed local law 9, which establishes 1,000 permits for the green cart program to provide fresh produce through mobile food carts.

Active Living: Programs and education campaigns were created to encourage New Yorkers to incorporate physical activity throughout their day, including “Make NYC Your Gym,” a campaign encouraging New Yorkers to take advantage of the many opportunities for physical activity throughout the City.


Heart Disease: From 2001 to 2013, deaths from heart disease decreased 32%.

HIV: From 2001 to 2011, HIV mortality rates declined by 58%, from 22 deaths per 100,000 in 2001 to 9.3 deaths per 100,000 in 2011. The number of New Yorkers who reported having an HIV test in the past 12 months increased from 22.9% in 2005 to 34.5% in 2011.

Cancer: By 2013, mortality rates from cancer declined 6.4% compared to 2001.

Preventative Tests and Vaccines: From 2003 to 2013, colonoscopies for New Yorkers over 50 increased 62%. HPV vaccination among girls 13-17 increased 138% from 15.1% in 2008 to 35.9% in 2012.

Flu: Vaccination rates increased to 51.6% in 2012, up from 45.8% in 2002.

TB: There were 651 cases of TB in 2012, the lowest number of annual cases ever recorded in NYC.


Suicide Rate: New York City’s suicide rate was approximately half the national rate (6 deaths per 100,000 in NYC vs. 12 deaths per 100,000 people in US in 2011).


Teen Births: From 2001 to 2011, teen birth rates declined nearly 30%.

Lead Poisoning: Cases of children testing positive fell by two-thirds (from 8.6% of children testing positive in 2005 to 2.8% in 2012).

Nurse-Family Partnership: This program served over 8,000 women and provided them with support and guidance during the early stages of parenthood.


Electronic Health Records: More than 3,100 NYC primary care providers, serving more than 3 million patients, many of them in low-income neighborhoods, began using electronic health records focusing on key clinical preventive services (blood pressure control, cholesterol control and smoking cessation).

Public Health Insurance: From 2002 to 2013, the number of New Yorkers enrolled in public health insurance programs increased by 1.38 million people, or 81%.


Restaurant Grading: In 2010, the Bloomberg administration began requiring all restaurants to post letter grades from inspections in their windows.

Salmonella: In 2011, salmonella cases dropped to a 20-year low. The rate of cases fell from 15.9 per 100,000 in 2010 prior to grading program’s implementation to 13.7 per 100,000 in 2011.