It was another busy and impactful year in Greater Washington, as our You’re the Cure advocates supported and advanced heart heath policy throughout the region in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Here are this years highlights -
Prince George’s Healthy Kids Meals
Prince George’s County became the FIRST place in the country to pass a comprehensive healthy kids meals policy that covers both beverages and food for restaurant children’s meals. This policy, which makes healthy drinks the default on the menu and sets nutrition standards for the food in kids’ meals will be phased in over the next 5 years. The November 17 unanimous County Council vote sent a strong signal about the importance of healthy options and healthy food access during such challenging times. Read more.
Produce Rx in DC
As part of its 2021 budget, the DC Council allocated $250,000 for the Produce Rx program, which encourages physicians to write “prescriptions” for patients to redeem free fruits and vegetables, as a “food as medicine” approach to wellness and to help address food insecurity. This program has become more essential than ever, helping low-income residents have better access to affordable healthy food.
Flavored Tobacco Restriction in DC
More than 70 advocates spoke out at a January 2, 2020 hearing in the DC Council to voice their support for legislation that would restrict the sale of all favored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. We have supported this policy in the Council throughout the year and will continue to do so in early 2021, when we anticipate the bill to begin to move through the committee and Council. Stay tuned in January for more opportunities to support this important bill! Read more.
Sugary Drink Tax in DC
We have continued to support a sugary drink tax in the District to help improve health and provide resources for health equity programs. Like so much in 2020, this policy was put on the back burner by the Council, but exciting things are in store beginning in early 2021. Stay tuned for opportunities to speak out in favor of this impactful policy! Learn more.
Bike Funding in Montgomery County
In a victory for active transportation and a healthier community, on May 21, 2020 the Montgomery County Council approved approximately $30 million to support bicycle and pedestrian programs in their 2021 budget. Importantly, the Council also included health equity goals in the Master Bike Plan, ensuring projects will emphasize access for all residents, so that everyone, regardless of income or where they live, can bike or walk to where they need to go.
On to 2021!
Thanks again for your incredible support of AHA’s heart health policies throughout Greater Washington during such a challenging year. We look forward to working with all of you to support sugary drink reduction, restrictions on flavored tobacco, healthy kids meals, funding for health equity, food security, and so many other important and impactful policies to improve and promote heart health in 2021.
Thank you for your heartfelt advocacy and happy new year!