Brooklyn’s Community District 2 is seemingly a young and healthy district. With more than 100,000 residents across seven booming neighborhoods (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Vinegar Hill), the raw statistics would seem to bode well for local health.
Most residents (80 percent) are native born, most (89 percent) are under the age of 65, and most have college degrees. Residents of Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights have greater access to health insurance, prenatal care and supermarkets than the city as a whole, and 84 percent rate their health as “excellent,” “very good” or “good.”
But an in-depth look at the district released by the New York City Department of Health earlier this month – part of the citywide Community Health Profiles effort – found that all is not as well as it could be across the district.
Despite the area’s general wealth, one in five residents live below the Federal poverty level. The life expectancy in CD2 is 79.4 years. By comparison, the life expectancy in Borough Park is 83.5 years. In Manhattan’s Financial District, people can expect to live 85.4 years.
The rate of stroke hospitalizations in Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights is more than twice the rate in Greenwich Village and Soho. (High blood pressure is said to be a leading cause.) Drug and alcohol-related hospitalizations are also higher in Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights than in the city as a whole – a sign of chronic misuse.
The rates of obesity and diabetes in these neighborhoods are two and half times higher than the rates in Stuyvesant Town and Turtle Bay, both in the best-performing district.
Also in Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights, the rate of preterm births, called by DOH a “key driver of infant death,” is nearly 80 percent higher than in Midtown.
Community Board 2’s District Manager Rob Perris told the Brooklyn Eagle that this was one of the statistics that popped out for him, “especially in a district where most people have health insurance.”
Perris also pointed out the high rate of child asthma hospitalizations in combination with the high levels of fine particle air pollution (PM2.5), the most harmful kind.
“I believe the aggregated numbers are misleading and the situation is even worse for those neighborhoods adjacent to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,” Perris said.
The report notes that the asthma hospitalization rate among children ages 5 to 14 in Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights is eight times the rate in Borough Park, which is farther from the BQE. Borough Park has the lowest childhood asthma rate in the city.
CB2’s Health, Environment and Social Services Committee will be reviewing the district’s health profile at a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, 121 DeKalb Ave. at St. Felix Street (Dining Room A).
More district profiles can be found at the DOH website.