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Named unhealthiest, Bronx battles back

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, March 17, 2016, 12:21 PM

Fast food restaurants are in abundance in the Bronx and are often the cheapest food option.Luis Gonzalez/CLP Media

Fast food restaurants are in abundance in the Bronx and are often the cheapest food option.

After coming in dead last in health stats again, the Bronx is battling back.

For the seventh consecutive year, Bronx County came in 62nd among all New York counties, branding the area as the most unhealthy.

The Bronx ranked at the bottom for quality of life, which included poor physical and mental health and low birthweight, and in health factors, such as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.

But in the Bronx, they point to improvements.

“We have hosted a series of health screenings and events, to not only engage the community but to promote wellness,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said in a statement Thursday.

The Bronx was nowhere near the bottom of the nation, however, because its premature death rate — the statistic used when people die before they turn 75 — was 6,900 per 100,000. The national average is 7,700.

Premature death rankings account for 50% of the health rating, according to a spokeswoman for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which compiled the report. The rankings are done to help health agencies better serve communities and do not rank counties nationally.

Though Bronx residents are living longer than they were 15 years ago, they aren’t living as well as they are in other places.

The rate of childhood poverty in the Bronx is 43%, which is nearly double the statewide number. High school graduation rate is 56%, where its 77% statewide and unemployment is 9.8%, compared to 6.3% statewide, all factors that led to it being last in statewide stats.

“It’s going to take a long time to come back,” said John DeSio, Diaz’ spokesman.

Trying to combat the problems, Diaz announced a new initiative in his February 2015 State of the Borough speech: #Not62 — The Campaign for a Healthy Bronx.

Under the campaign, some 70 organizations, including hospitals and neighborhood centers, are working together to help promote healthier eating, additional exercise and safe sex programs, among others.

The social media campaign encourages better health. The borough’s efforts include improving parks to the tune of $ 5 million last year.

“Our Bronx Neighborhood Health Action Center is on the ground, helping to remedy these challenges every day,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a statement. “With our various partnerships designed to promote healthier environments, active living and better sexual health, we are taking the right steps to uplift the Bronx community.”

The other four boroughs all slid down the health scale.

Brooklyn, which had been 43rd statewide, ranked 52nd; Staten Island, which was 24th, is now 26th; Queens went from 12th to 17th and Manhattan from 8th to 11th.

Saratoga took the top spot, ranking as New York’s healthiest county.

jcutler@nydailynews.com


Health – NY Daily News

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