Nutritious snacks taking over Baltimore County vending machines

Executive order aims to combat obesity

(WMAR) - The vending machine is where you go for the candy bar or small bag of chips for your mid-day snack, but in Baltimore County, that's about to change.

The County Executive, Kevin Kamenetz, signed an executive order on Tuesday to make vending machines healthier. It requires all vending machines operated by the county to only sell items that meet certain nutrition standards.

Obesity continues to be a problem in our country and our state. According to the non-profit 'The State of Obesity', about 30 percent of adults in Maryland are considered obese and 30 percent of kids are obese. This can lead to a number of health problems including diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

Sugar Free Kids Maryland released the following statement regarding the executive order:

Our coalition applauds County Executive Kamenetz for signing the executive order to ensure that the healthy choice will be the easy choice in vending machines across the 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.

This executive order is designed to help the county promote health, save lives and reduce the costly effects of medical conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Sugary drinks and unhealthy food contribute to chronic diseases that significantly affect the lives of residents in Baltimore County and lead to large health care costs. Thirty-six percent of women and 33.7 percent of men living in Baltimore County are unable to maintain a healthy weight. Nearly 2 percent of all deaths in Baltimore County are due to heart disease.

We are excited to see that county leaders have taken a proactive stand to support measures like this that will improve health for people who live, work and play in the community.

This builds on recent momentum in the state of Maryland where legislation that ensures healthy drinks and snacks in vending machines have been passed by Baltimore City, Charles County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and the Maryland-National Parks and Planning Commission since 2015.

Sugar Free Kids Maryland and the American Heart Association were both there during the signing of the order Tuesday morning. Both organizations have made it their mission to get you eating healthier, slim down your waistline, and increase your life expectancy.

WATCH THE FULL SIGNING OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER BELOW: 

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