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Seniors in Public Housing Less Healthy Than Peers Citywide: Study

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Senior citizens living in public housing are more likely to smoke, suffer from obesity and overall be in worse health than seniors citywide, according to a health study commissioned by the city.

More than 61,000 seniors live in public housing and 37 percent have diabetes— compared to 23 percent in their age group citywide, according to the New York City Housing Authority.

Seniors were also more likely to smoke (15 percent compared to 8 citywide) than their counterparts who don't live in public housing and have higher rates of obesity and high blood pressure.

Most seniors in NYCHA housing — 84 percent — are black or Hispanic, and 71 percent are women. Blacks and Hispanics tend to have higher rates of diabetes in general.

Richard Greene, NYCHA's Director of Resident Services, said the ailing health of senior residents is worrisome.

"Since about half of our seniors live alone, it essentially, you know, it tells us this is an area of concern that we really need to look into," Greene said.

The study is supposed to help target services to seniors in need, and the housing authority said it's working with the Health Department and the city's Department for the Aging to better serve its senior population.

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