September 12, 2017

Charles County Commissioners Vote to Approve Healthy Vending Resolution

La Plata, Md. – On Sept. 12, the Board of Charles County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that will direct the county administrator to expand healthy drink and snack options offered in county vending machines. Resolution No. 2017-13 received all five votes from County Commissioners.

The draft policy proposed by the County Administrator would require that at least 50 percent of items in machines meet American Heart Association-recommended nutrition standards for sugar, salt, fat and other measures, and that every drink machine will offer bottled water.

The following statement has been issued by Shawn McIntosh, executive director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland, a coalition representing hundreds of health, youth, faith, education, professional and labor organizations:

Our coalition is excited that the Board of Charles County Commissioners has voted to ensure that the healthy choice will be the easy choice in vending machines across the county. We applaud the leadership of County Administrator Michael D. Malinoff and the members of Charles County’s Wellness Committee for championing this resolution. We thank the commissioners that voted to prioritize the health of our residents, students and workers. This helps the county continue moving towards a culture of health.

This resolution is designed to help the county promote health, save lives and reduce the costly effects of medical conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chronic diseases are significantly affecting the lives of residents in Charles County and leading to large health care costs. Only 27.9 percent of county residents are currently at a healthy weight. 228.5 of every 100,000 deaths in the county are due to heart disease. We are excited to see that county leaders have taken a proactive stand to support measures like this that will improve health for people who live, work and play in the community.

This builds on recent momentum in the state of Maryland where, since 2015, similar pieces of legislation that ensure healthy drinks and snacks in vending machines have been passed by Baltimore City, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and the Maryland-National Parks and Planning Commission.

Sugar Free Kids Maryland looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners to advocate for policies that will improve health in Charles County and across the state.