Vision 2 Goal

Healthy Neighborhoods, Active Living

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The City continues to shape the built environment in support of an active and healthy lifestyle for New Yorkers and a more sustainable, nutritious, and equitable food system. Through a targeted set of programs aimed at improving neighborhood food options and opportunities for physical activity, the City is committed to eliminating longstanding disparities in health outcomes and providing opportunities for healthy living.

IndicatorLatest DataPrevious Data
Increase the average number of servings of fruits and vegetables that adult New Yorkers eat per day by 25 percent, from 2.4 to 3 servings, by 20352.3
mean servings (2016)
mean servings (2015)
Increase the percentage of New York City public high school students who report meeting recommended levels of aerobic physical activity from 19 percent to 30 percent by 2035Data Not Available21%

Improved access to healthy food in underserved communities

The City administers a number of programs aimed at improving the overall food environment and addressing disparities in access to nutritious food, including improving healthy food options in retail stores, increasing the purchasing power of New Yorkers for healthy food, and providing education and resources for preparing balanced meals at home. The City’s Health Bucks program, for example, provides low-income New Yorkers with additional purchasing power to buy fresh, locally-grown produce. Health Bucks are $2 coupons redeemable for fruits and vegetables at all 140 NYC farmers’ markets year-round. Since 2015, over $1.2 million of Health Bucks have been distributed through farmers markets and 450 community organizations. The City has also focused on the food environment in low-income neighborhoods through programs like Shop Healthy NYC, which recognized 131 bodegas and supermarkets in Brooklyn, Harlem, and the Bronx last year with a special citation for stocking and promoting of healthy foods in their stores.

Increased opportunities for physical activity for New Yorkers of all ages

Physical activity is crucial for improving and maintaining health among New Yorkers of all ages. The City offers programs for different age groups providing opportunities for physical activity in schools, homes, streets, parks, and even workplaces.

By opening school sites to the public and adding new equipment, sports coating, colorfully painted ground-marking games, tracks, and other designs, the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program is helping address disparities in health outcomes and opportunities for healthy living in low-income neighborhoods. Since 2015, NYC Parks and the Department of Education have opened 17 additional schoolyards as playgrounds, increasing community access to quality recreational space in underserved neighborhoods. During this period, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) also provided 62 schools and 60 early childhood centers with training, technical assistance, and support to implement active design enhancements at their sites. Overall, more than 7,600 students in early childhood centers and more than 40,600 public school students have benefited from the enhancements.

The City also leads initiatives that encourage physical activity among adults and seniors. In 2017, NYC Parks hosted 170,000 visits to its Shape Up fitness classes and completed seven Community Parks Initiative projects that included new adult exercise areas. Many more are in the pipeline. The City also established design guidelines to promote physical activity, including annual FitCity conferences and the Active Design in Early Childhood Settings Playbook.

Addressed home health hazards in public and private housing

Asthma affects nearly 1 million New Yorkers and asthma-related hospital visits are higher among residents living in high-poverty neighborhoods. To reduce exposure to potential triggers such as pests and mold, the City administers programs in public and private housing. Since 2015, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has budgeted $843.6 million for roof replacements and has replaced 63 roofs at six developments. The mayor’s 13-phase Roofing Initiative will replace aging roofs at 952 buildings overall for a total of $1.3 billion. NYCHA launched Mold Busters, a new program to train NYCHA staff around eliminating the root causes of mold, and also launched an initiative to educate residents about the health risks of exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, NYCHA offers services for smokers who want to quit—in advance of adopting a smoke-free housing policy to comply with new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rules.

The City has developed a range of programmatic efforts to promote healthy housing, including the DOHMH Healthy Homes Training for Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)-financed new construction and substantial renovation—a new HPD prerequisite for Enterprise Green Communities certification. Since 2015, DOHMH has trained over 350 architects, general contractors, and owners/developers on integrated pest management (IPM), smoke-free housing, and active design. In 2017, HPD and DOHMH partnered with city and state entities to launch the Integrated Physical Needs Assessment, a new tool to better evaluate the water, energy, and health needs and opportunities of properties.