October 16, 2017

Brandon Scott Introduces Healthy Kids’ Meals Legislation to Baltimore City Council

BALTIMORE – On Oct. 16, City Councilmember Brandon Scott introduced the Baltimore City Healthy Kids’ Meals Bill (Council Bill 17-0152) to the Baltimore City Council. The bill is supported by Sugar Free Kids Maryland and the Baltimore City Health Department.

The proposed legislation would make water, milk and 100% fruit juice the default beverage option for all restaurants kids’ meals in the city of Baltimore. The bill will improve health for Baltimore City children by making the healthy choice the easy choice. Families would be able to order other beverage items upon request.

“Busy parents with limited options are often faced with the need to eat out on a regular basis with their families,” said Sugar Free Kids Maryland Executive Director Shawn McIntosh. “The default options for kids’ meals in restaurants are almost always sugary drinks. Mayor Pugh and the Baltimore City Council have the opportunity to ensure that healthy choices will be available to city families so that their children can have better opportunities to live long, healthy lives, free of chronic disease.”

The children of Baltimore City are developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and hypertension at alarming rates and the prime contributing factor to these problems is the overconsumption of sugary drinks. One in three school-aged children in the city is unable to maintain a healthy weight.

One in four Baltimore children drink at least one soda every day; well over the American Heart Association’s recommendation that children over the age of 2 only drink one 8 oz. sugary drink a week.

Chronic diseases are also costly. By 2018, diseases caused by poor nutrition will likely cost Maryland’s healthcare system at least $7.6 billion in direct medical costs alone, half of which will be publicly funded.

“The science is clear: one of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity is sugary drinks” said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner. “This bill would make the healthy choice the easy choice. It is a powerful tool to help our residents get healthy and stay healthy.”

Advocates are using the hashtag #HealthyKidsBmore to promote the legislation.