July 18, 2017

Prince George’s County Council Unanimously Passes Healthy Vending Legislation

Upper Marlboro, Md. – On July 18, the Prince George’s County Council unanimously approved legislation that will expand healthy drinks and snacks offered in county vending machines (CB-26). The bill received all nine votes from the full council.

The bill ensures that at least 50 percent of items in machines will 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 Prince George’s County Council has voted to ensure that the healthy choice will be the easy choice in vending machines across the county. We applaud the leadership of Councilmember Dannielle Glaros and her colleagues who have voted to prioritize the health of our residents, students and workers. We also thank municipalities such as Capitol Heights and College Park, health leaders and local youth who supported this policy. We urge County Executive Rushern Baker to follow suit and sign the bill, so that Prince George’s County can continue moving towards a culture of health.

This legislation 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 Prince George’s County and leading to large health care costs. More than 60 percent of deaths in the county are due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 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 similar pieces of legislation that ensure healthy drinks and snacks in vending machines have been passed by Baltimore City, Howard County, Montgomery County and the Maryland-National Parks and Planning Commission since 2015.

Sugar Free Kids Maryland looks forward to continuing to work closely with partners to advocate for policies improving health in Prince George’s County and across the state.