Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has signed an executive order requiring that all items in all county-controlled vending machines meet healthy nutrition standards.
From a Baltimore County news release:
“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.