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Keyword: sugar free kids maryland

Initiative Fosters a Culture of Good Health

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced and signed an Executive Order mandating that 100 percent of all items offered in Baltimore County-controlled vending machines must meet healthy nutrition standards.

Joined by Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP, Health Officer and Health and Human Services Director; Shawn McIntosh, Executive Director, Sugar Free Kids Maryland; Michaeline Fedder, Government Relations Director, Maryland, American Heart Association, Kamenetz emphasized the importance of creating a culture of good health within its workforce and among its residents.

“The epidemic of obesity presents an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and orthopedic problems and dramatically drives up healthcare costs,” said Kamenetz. “We have made it a mission to improve the lives of our employees. In addition to healthier choices in our vending machines, county employees may take advantage of nutrition seminars, smoking cessation classes, and a wellness center where they can utilize treadmills with e-mail access.”

This Executive Order changes the County’s vending machine contract from a typical vending contract (with little to no nutrition requirements) to 100 percent healthy vending standards defined as nutrition requirements meeting the standards of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and American Heart Association (AHA). These standards control total calories per snack, sodium, sugar and others with an emphasis on reducing calorie intake and increasing heart-healthy options. It is noteworthy that the County Executive’s “100 percent” requirement is rare among jurisdictions which generally only require that “50 percent” of included products meet HHS and AHA standards, making Baltimore County a leader in this area.

Shawn McIntosh, Executive Director of Sugar Free Kids Maryland, who participated in today’s event, said, “ Our coalition applauds Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz for signing the Executive Order to ensure that the healthy choice will be the easy choice in vending machines across Baltimore County. With these changes, Baltimore County is prioritizing the health of its residents, students and workers. Nationally, 75 percent of all healthcare dollars are spent to treat chronic diseases. Healthier options will reduce that figure.”

The full text of the Executive Order and photos from the event are available on the County’s website.

Revised September 11, 2017