AMA: Air Travel Guidelines Needed to Prevent Flu's Spread

Separate policy recognizes health care facilities' role in sustainable, healthy food system
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policies on flu prevention guidelines for airline travel and the role of health care organizations in a healthy food system on June 16 at its annual meeting held from June 13 to 17 in Chicago. The AMA also passed policies relating to electronic cigarettes, tasers, and vitamin D.

One policy recognizes that the confined nature of air travel raises the risk of influenza's spread. It supports efforts to develop airline travel guidelines to help keep the flu -- including H1N1 swine flu -- from spreading. In another policy, the AMA makes recommendations on how health care facilities and medical schools can improve their food systems by using more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and fewer processed foods, serving as role models and educators on the importance of a sustainable, healthy food system.

On the same day, the AMA adopted three additional policies, including one recognizing the potential effectiveness of electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation programs, another supporting proper use of tasers in situations that would otherwise involve deadly force, and a third one stating that current data on vitamin D is insufficient for recommending optimal levels.

"We know vitamin D has health benefits for patients, such as strong bones and a reduced risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, but we need more data to know how much is appropriate to recommend," AMA board member, Joseph Annis, M.D., of the Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., said in a statement. "Long-term studies that address the benefits and risks will go a long way toward helping physicians determine what is best for their patients."

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