POLICY DATABASE
Policy Summary

This law requires food service facilities in the county that offer "children's meals" to offer with those meals a healthy default side option and--where a beverage is included as part of the meal--a healthy default beverage. They must also offer at least one meal that is a "Healthy Children's Meal." The law specifies that its requirements are to be phased in over four years, with enforcement beginning in year five. Beverages permitted for the default healthy beverage option include unsweetened waters; 100% fruit juices served undiluted or mixed with water, with no added sweeteners in servings of no more than eight ounces; and dairy and non-dairy milks that are served in portions with no more than 130 calories. "Healthy Children's Meal are meals" that "contain not more than: 550 calories; 700 milligrams of sodium; 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; 15 grams of added sugars; and 0 grams of trans fat, and comprised of foods from certain specified categories (fruit, vegetable, low/non-fat dairy, meat/meat alternate, whole grains), including at least one 1/2 cup serving of non-fried fruits or vegetables. The healthy default side for children's meals that are not a "Healthy Children's Meal" must be the healthiest side option available as part of a "Healthy Children's Meal" (note: "healthiest" is not defined). The law also defines "children's meals," and expressly excludes "a combination of food items that has been prepackaged by or at a facility other than the food service facility offering the prepackaged combination for purchase."

Background Information

State Maryland
Jurisdiction Name Prince George's County
Jurisdiction Type County,
Population Size 800,000+
Food System Category Process; Get;
Evidence for Health

This policy may correspond to diet-related strategies identified by the County Health Rankings’ What Works for Health tool, including:

For research on the potential effectiveness, please review the category links above.

We understand that this information is not comprehensive. It also does not include other important forms of evidence such as community members’ lived experiences and practice-based evidence.

Policy Details

Refers to priority populations?
Yes

There are numerous examples, including, e.g. this language, "Latino high school students," "obese children," "African-American children and teens," and "low-income families." § 12-215.

Health-related goal?
Yes

Examples include this language: "nutritional quality," "diabetes," "chronic disease." § 12-215.

Environmental goal?
No

Economic goal?
Yes

See this language: "The County Council finds that diet-related health conditions have serious economic costs. The medical burden of obesity in the United States is approximately $147 billion annually, or almost 10 percent of all medical spending. Roughly one-half of these costs are paid through Medicare and Medicaid, which means that taxpayers are responsible for much of the bill." § 12-215.

Has a stated intent or purpose?
Yes

There are numerous statements in the intent and purpose section. Among them are the following: "It is hereby declared by the County Council of Prince George's County, Maryland that in order to foster healthy environments where families live, learn, work, and play in Prince George's County, it must engage in the promotion of healthy lifestyles through innovative approaches. The 2017 Prince George's County Health Report found that over 30% of high school students in the county were either overweight or obese, exceeding the state's prevalence at 26.4%. The 2020 RAND Corporation Report to the Prince George's County Board of Health found that Latino high school students have the highest rate of overweight and obesity in the ;" "The County Council finds that diet-related health conditions have serious economic costs;" "A 2016 study commissioned by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, showed that Medicaid annual spending per enrollee with diabetes ($24,387) is more than double the spending per enrollee without diabetes ($10,880);" "The purpose of this statute is to support parents' efforts to feed their children healthfully by ensuring healthy meals are readily available to children in restaurants and that offering healthier children's meals will improve the overall health and well-being of children and families living in Prince George's County." § 12-215.

Includes definitions?
Yes

§ 12-216.

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