Supported by the American Heart Association (AHA), Maryland’s Montgomery County Council held a hearing on February 28th regarding Bill 1-17, which would ensure that all vending machines on county property include 50 percent healthy food and beverage items that meet American Heart Association nutritional guidelines. Councilmember George Leventhal sponsored the bill, along with six additional co-sponsors.
The proposed healthy vending legislation, backed by AHA, Sugar Free Kids Maryland, and others would create healthier options for food and beverages in all 168 vending machines on Montgomery Country property.
“We want Montgomery County to be the healthiest county in America," Leventhal stated during a press conference prior to the hearing. "We lead by example."
If approved, Bill 1-17 would make it easier for employees and visitors to make healthy choices at county vending machines, while maintaining 50% of current items for those who wish to make a less healthy choice. Food and beverages in the machines would meet AHA recommended nutrition guidelines for sugar, sodium, fat, and other measures
AHA was joined at the hearing by organizations including Sugar Free Kids Maryland, Real Food for Kids Montgomery, Montgomery County Food Council, American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society, all of whom testified in support of this heart healthy policy.
“We are excited about making the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone who lives, works and plays in Montgomery County,” said Shawn McIntosh, Executive Director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland, and a You’re the Cure advocate. “Passing this legislation is an achievable step for the County to promote health, increase access to healthy choices and help reduce the costly effects of medical conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. By increasing choices for packaged snack foods and beverages in vending, we are aiming to make the County a healthier place to live, work and play.”
Heart disease is the leading killer in the US and Montgomery County. Nearly 60 percent of Montgomery County adults and one in four county children do not have a healthy weight This legislation aims to make healthy choices easier on Montgomery County property, and will continue to build a culture of health. The bill will now move to the Government Operations committee of the County Council for consideration.
To support this legislation click: http://act.yourethecure.org/CeRdEv5, and on social media use the hashtag #HealthyVendingMoCo.
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Pictured above from left to right: Councilmember Craig Rice, Councilmember George Leventhal, and Lindsey Parsons, You’re the Cure advocate and Executive Director of Real Food for Kids Montgomery.
<Special thanks to AHA intern Melissa Rohman for help developing this blog post>