WASHINGTON — A balanced diet is important, but for most people, occasionally the food groups consist of chips, candy and soda.
Prince George’s County is considering a bill that would require half the items in vending machines be healthy.
County Council Vice Chair Danielle Glaros, of Riverdale Park, introduced the bill Tuesday, citing the role of sugary and fatty foods in a county with high rates of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases, reports The Washington Post.
Under the plan, 50 percent of packaged foods and drinks in machines located on county, municipal and park property would be required to meet federal health standards.
Food items containing more than 200 calories, would be limited under the plan, as would beverages exceeding 40 calories per serving.
The food and drink industry has opposed similar bills, saying they sell what people want to buy. According to The Post, Prince George’s County is home to several soft drink companies.
The healthy products would have to be comparably priced and displayed more prominently than those with lower nutritional value.
Other jurisdictions have similar programs. Howard County requires 75 percent of items offered in county-owned spaces be healthy. D.C. insists half of items sold be healthy.
In Alexandria, 100 percent of items in vending machines on city property must be nutritionally sound.