Over 170 vending machines on Montgomery County, MD property will feature healthy options and include at least 50 percent food and beverage items that meet American Heart Association nutritional guidelines, following the Montgomery County Council’s unanimous approval of Bill 1-17 on April 18th.
hero_image_alt_text===Montgomery County Council meeting
thumbnail_alt_text===Montgomery County Council meeting
Sponsored by Councilmember George Leventhal, on April 18 the Montgomery County MD Council unanimously approved of Bill 1-17, which will make it easier for residents and visitors to make healthy choices at county vending machines. This new law ensures that 50% of the food and beverage items in vending machines on county property will meet AHA recommended nutrition guidelines for sugar, sodium, fat, and other measures.
“Bill 1-17 does not dictate what people can or cannot eat—it simply mandates that our vendors provide healthier options,” Councilmember George Leventhal said.
Over 100 letters were sent by You’re the Cure advocates to Montgomery County Councilmembers, urging them to support Bill 1-17. Additional support for the legislation came from 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 alongside AHA.
“We are excited about making the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone who lives, works and plays in Montgomery County,” said Shawn McIntosh, a You’re the Cure advocate and executive director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland. “This legislation is a step for the county to promote health, increase access to healthy choices and help reduce the costly effects of conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”
The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission also passed a healthy vending resolution on April 19, which will extend the healthy vending policy to all parks in Montgomery Prince George’s Counties, serving over 2 million residents.
Similar healthy vending legislation was also introduced in Prince George’s County, MD on March 28, and a hearing is expected soon.
With the enactment of Bill 1-17, the 1 million residents of Montgomery County join several other Mid-Atlantic communities with healthy vending policies, including Washington DC, Baltimore City, Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) NC, and Columbia, SC.
<Special thanks to AHA intern Melissa Rohman for help developing this blog post>