September 22, 2020

Maryland Health Organizations Show Support For Prince George’s County Council Healthy Kids’ Meals Bill

Upper Marlboro, Md. – On Sept. 22, Prince George’s County Councilmember Sydney J. Harrison introduced the Prince George’s County Healthy Kids’ Meals Bill (CB-071) to the County Council. The bill is supported by a diverse coalition led by Sugar Free Kids Maryland, Prince George’s Food Equity Council, American Heart Association and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

The proposed legislation would make water, milk and 100% fruit juice default beverage options for all kids’ meals served at Prince George’s County restaurants. It would also ensure options in kids’ meals that would limit calories, sugar, salt and fat. Families would be able to order other beverage items upon request. The bill will improve health for county children by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

The bill is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Derrick Leon Davis, Thomas E. Dernoga, Mel Franklin, Dannielle M. Glaros, Calvin S. Hawkins II, Rodney C. Streeter and Deni Taveras.

“This legislation allows for a greater opportunity for healthier food and beverage choices at restaurants,” said Soula Antoniou, executive director of the American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region. “If passed, Prince George’s County would become the first jurisdiction in the country to approve a comprehensive healthy kids’ meal bill, making the county a national leader in promoting equitable health policy.”

The children of Prince George’s County are becoming more at risk for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease at alarming rates. The major contributing factor to these problems is the overconsumption of sugary drinks. These preexisting conditions are now putting people at higher risk of becoming severely ill after contracting COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear to all of us that developing chronic diseases can have devastating health effects on communities,” said Shawn McIntosh, executive director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland. “Healthier choices lead to healthier diets and lower susceptibility to chronic diseases. County Executive Alsobrooks and the Prince George’s County Council have the opportunity to ensure that healthy choices will be easier to make for county families so that their children can have better opportunities to live long, healthy lives.”

The campaign was featured in the Oct. 5 edition of The Washington Times. Advocates are using the hashtag #HealthyKidsPGC to promote the legislation.

Prince George’s County residents can click here to contact their councilmembers.