Montgomery County, MD quickly to require more healthy drinks with youngsters’ meals

Beginning on Wednesday, eating places that serve youngsters’ meals in Montgomery County, Maryland will likely be providing more healthy drinks like water or low-fat milk as a substitute of soda or different sugary drinks. That’s due to laws handed by the County Council final 12 months, which gave eating places one 12 months to implement that a part of the measure. 

Montgomery County, simply outdoors Washington, DC, has 19 municipalities, together with Rockville, Chevy Chase, and Takoma Park, in addition to giant unincorporated communities corresponding to Bethesda, Wheaton, and Silver Spring — and multiple million residents. 

The county turns into the second jurisdiction within the nation to require eating places with youngsters’ menus to supply not less than one wholesome meal that meets the vitamin requirements it specifies. That portion of the regulation will go into impact in September. 

The marketing campaign to cross the Montgomery County ordinance was led by the Montgomery County NAACP, the American Coronary heart Affiliation, CASA of Maryland, and the Middle for Science within the Public Curiosity, amongst others. 

“Our youngsters, particularly in Black and Brown communities, don’t all the time have entry to wholesome meals, like contemporary fruits and greens and entire grains,” mentioned Montgomery County NAACP president Linda Plummer. “In consequence, our children have increased charges of weight problems and childhood diabetes. Children deserves to have wholesome meals choices at residence, in class, and in eating places. With this laws, Montgomery County has taken an enormous step ahead in making eating places extra pleasant to households.” 

“Sugary soda contributes to diabetes, coronary heart illness, weight achieve, and tooth decay, and in contrast to most different drinks or meals, contribute nothing optimistic to youngsters’ diets or well being,” mentioned CSPI coverage affiliate Katie Marx. “Dad and mom will nonetheless be free to decide on them, however most dad and mom will doubtless be relieved that the default alternative is a more healthy drink.” 

In 2020, neighboring Prince George’s County, which has almost a million residents, was the primary jurisdiction within the nation to incorporate a wholesome meal customary in addition to a wholesome beverage requirement. That goes into impact subsequent 12 months. 

Throughout the nation, the states of California, Delaware, Hawaii, and Illinois, and cities corresponding to Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis, MO; New Orleans, LA; and Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland, OH have handed related payments requiring more healthy drinks with youngsters’ meals. 

“This coverage facilitates the wholesome alternative being the straightforward alternative and supplies nutritious choices for busy dad and mom like myself to select from,” mentioned Dr. Yolandra Hancock, an American Coronary heart Affiliation board member and pediatrician. “As a health care provider, well being advocate and a mom, I do know creating the healthiest surroundings for our youngsters to thrive begins with the meals we placed on their plates.” 

Advocates for the youngsters’ meal invoice thanked former Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice for his early management on behalf of the measure within the final council session, and to Councilmember Gabe Albornoz for his continued assist as this invoice is carried out. 

 ”As a father of 4, I’m proud to have supported this laws alongside Councilmember Rice,” mentioned Albornoz. “Guaranteeing {that a} default beverage included in a child’s meal isn’t excessive in sugar is a vital first step to serving to our households set up nutritious consuming habits that may result in more healthy outcomes. I appreciated all of the companions coming collectively to supply their experience and advocacy which was crucial in getting this laws enacted and carried out.” 

Advocates in different Maryland counties are eyeing related measures. In southern Maryland’s Charles County, the native NAACP and different religion and neighborhood teams have partnered with the Division of Well being and college system to advocate for wholesome meals decisions in that county. 

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