A blue-ribbon panel of experts is being assembled to provide insight into best practices used in airports around the world, relating to health and wellness for passengers and workers. The mission of the “Coalition for Healthful Airports” is to: become a comprehensive repository of worldwide health/wellness programs and initiatives in airports; and, provide the industry with access to best practice recommendations for innovation in passenger services in this category. The announcement was made during the annual conference of the Airports Council International - North America meeting in San Jose, CA. Leading this effort is the World Heart Federation, working in cooperation with the Airports Council International, European Region (ACI EUROPE), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airline Medical Directors Association (AMDA).
The World Heart Federation is a global leader in the fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD) – including heart disease and stroke – via a united community of more than 200 member organizations, including cardiac societies and heart foundations, from more than 100 countries worldwide. The World Heart Federation is recognized by the World Health Organization as its leading NGO partner in cardiovascular disease prevention and control.
Dr. Kathryn Taubert, PhD, the Chief Science Officer of the World Heart Federation, is convening a global committee of experts to identify best practices for healthful airports. Many of these best practices are related to better cardiovascular health, including healthier menu choices, smoking cessation, walking areas, etc. Dr. Taubert is joined on this committee by an eminent group of physicians including: Dr. Sidney Smith, M.D, Immediate Past President of the World Heart Federation and a former President of the American Heart Association, Dr. Alfred A. Bove, M.D., PhD, former President of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Paulo Magalhaes Alves, M.D., President of the Airline Medical Directors Association, and Dr. Claude Thibeault, M.D.,
the Chief Medical Officer of the International Air Transport Association.
A wide array of airport health and wellness aspects will be reviewed, including:
• Smoke free environment
• Healthy food options
• Automatic external defibrillators
• Distances marked inside airport and around airport for walking courses
• Passenger relaxation and massage areas
• Health care facility (e.g. medical clinics)
• Health educational platforms and the distribution of information on an array of airline passenger health
tips, including suggestions such as “chair” aerobics to increase endurance, improve flexibility, increase
blood oxygen levels, and improve body balance and posture
• Availability of vended products for smoking cessation
• Meditation/retreat/yoga area
• Free access to hand sanitizers
• General cleanliness
World Health Networks (WHN) is allied with the World Heart Federation in providing World Heart Federation
Health Stations free of charge to airports around the globe, which in turn will allow passengers and airport
workers the use of stations without charge. WHN is also a World Business Partner of ACI and IATA and is
helping to underwrite the “Coalition for Healthful Airports” work.
In making the announcement, Dr. Taubert stated, “Today, people are travelling more than ever and billions of
people go through airports each year. The Coalition for Healthful Airports is an important forum to develop best
practices to help educate people about healthy lifestyle choices – especially those that are tied back to
cardiovascular issues. For example, up to 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be
avoided if modifiable cardiovascular risk factors such as tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are
controlled. Airports are a key platform to raise awareness about heart healthy choices.”
Airports are now being asked to contact World Health Networks to relate their health and wellness best practices.
The first findings of the “Coalition for Healthful Airports” will be presented at the ACI EUROPE Leadership and
Change Management Forum in Bologna, Italy, 23 to 25 October 2013.