The comprehensive series of studies revealed significant health discrepancies based on gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.
According to a series of studies published on Tuesday by the NYC Health Department and the NYU School of Medicine, obesity, diabetes and depression continue to be on the rise in New York City. In addition to these three major health concerns, researchers also compiled data on gender and race disparities in cardiovascular risk factors, the correlation between sleep patterns and sexual orientation, and mercury levels among adults. The data for these studies were collected through the NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES), a population-based examination survey, which analyzed the physical and mental health information of more than 1,500 New Yorkers over a ten-year period.
The studies revealed that more than 8 percent of adult New Yorkers are suffering from depression and they are significantly more likely to be female, Latino or unemployed. They are also more likely to have less than a high school education and live in high-poverty neighborhoods.
Over the ten-year study period, obesity rates increased from 27.5 percent to 32.4 percent. This increase was mostly seen among men; Blacks and Latinos had the highest rates of obesity. Diabetes rates among New Yorkers also remain high and are disproportionally rising across racial and ethnic groups. The data further showed that Black women were more likely to be overweight or obese, have hypertension and diabetes than non-Latino white men or women, and non-Latino black men.
Lastly, the studies revealed that homosexual and bisexual adults seem to have more difficulty sleeping than heterosexual adults: 69 percent of homosexual adults and 49 percent of bisexual adults suffer from insomnia, compared to 40 percent of heterosexual adults.
On a slightly more positive note: Mercury levels found among adults are on the decline — thanks to a large-scale educational campaign that urged New Yorkers to reduce the consumption of fish with known high mercury content, stated the health department.
“There was a nearly 50 percent reduction in mercury levels of New Yorkers over this ten-year period,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “This is a great success for New Yorkers.”