April 19, 2017

Healthy Vending Momentum Continues as M-NCPPC Approves Measure for Maryland Parks

In another win for healthy vending, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) ratified Resolution 17-02 that will expand healthy drinks and snacks offered in vending machines at parks and recreation facilities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Just one day after the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to approve healthy vending changes on county property, M-NCPPC ensured that healthy options would also be available throughout the region’s parks and recreation centers.

At least 50 percent of items in machines will meet American Heart Association recommended nutrition standards for sugar, salt, fat and other measures.  Every drink machine will offer bottled water. The resolutions will apply for any vending machine service contract entered into on or after July 1, 2017.

The M-NCPPC is a bi-county agency that oversees a regional system of more than 1,700 parks and recreation facilities within Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, serving approximately 2 million residents.

For the next two years, half of snacks in machines at parks in the two counties will meet American Heart Association-recommended nutrition standards. After that, the percentage of healthy food and drink offered will rise to 65 percent.

Sugar Free Kids Maryland strongly backed a campaign to pass this resolution. “We thank and applaud the Commissioners of the M-NCPPC for providing increased healthy options to the families of Maryland,” said Executive Director Shawn McIntosh. “When kids and families visit parks and recreation facilities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, they deserve the opportunity to choose healthy options so that they can maintain the benefits of physical activity as they refuel and rehydrate.”

“We’re passing a resolution that will improve the health of all our citizens,” said Commissioner William Doerner, Ph.D. during the Commission’s meeting. “This is a great thing we’re doing!”

Almost one in four children in Montgomery County and nearly half of youth in Prince George’s County struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, placing them at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

“With these changes, healthier choices will be easier for thousands of children and residents in our state,” McIntosh said.

This story was covered by the Bethesda Beat.