APHA Adopts New Policies on Food Safety, Global Climate Change, Multidrug-Resistant Organisms, Breastfeeding and Feminine Hygien

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Public Health Association today adopted 20 policies addressing a wide spectrum of public health issues from food safety and obesity to personal hygiene and global climate change. The...

APHA calls on Congress to improve access to fresh produce and other healthy foods provided through school lunches and food assistance programs, shift federal subsidies support to products low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar and urges the federal government to change laws, specifically those governing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that promote agricultural interests over the interests of nutrition and health. The Association also urges Congress to include public health goals agriculture and nutrition legislation in order to support food security, nutrition education and access to healthy foods in schools and communities.

"APHA has long advocated for national policies that address obesity prevention and the elimination of health disparities," said Benjamin. "Including public health goals in agricultural policies is the next step in moving toward a sustainable food system, which will make nutritious food accessible and affordable to all while maintaining a healthy environment."

Oppose feminine hygiene douching practices. Research has shown a relationship between vaginal douching and several adverse health outcomes, including pelvic inflammatory disease, bacterial vaginosis, cervical cancer, HIV transmission and infertility. APHA therefore urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review its regulations on feminine hygiene douching products and require research on the safety of douching. In addition, the Association recommends that the public health community increase its efforts to provide culturally competent information to women about the risks associated with douching.

Recommend breastfeeding for first six months and one or two years thereafter. APHA joins all major other health officials in recommending that infants receive no other food or drink besides breast milk for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding for at least one to two years thereafter, with rare exceptions. APHA encourages policy-makers to provide adequate funding for breastfeeding support in U.S. foreign aid and support legislation that enable women in the United States to succeed in breastfeeding, including protection for breastfeeding in the public, paid maternity leave and worksite lactation protection.

Support school information sharing for public health purposes. Current legislation under the 1974 Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) prevents the collection of essential public health data. FERPA does not allow information sharing for public health purposes without the prior written authorization from students over 18 or parent/guardians of minor students. APHA recommends that federal and state governments establish common standards for the protection and confidentiality of personal health information, while allowing for the necessary sharing of information for treatment and payment, and public health purposes. The Association also recommends that schools be able to share personally identifiable health information with public health authorities, without prior client authorization, for data collection activities essential for carrying out the public health mission.

Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest, largest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States . APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at http://www.apha.org.

Contact: Olivia Chang , olivia.chang@apha.org, (202) 777-2511

SOURCE American Public Health Association