A healthy meal and drink will soon be the required default option for kids’ meals at all restaurants in Prince George’s County. The County Council unanimously approved the Healthy Kids’ meals bill Tuesday.
The bill would ensure options for kids meals that limit calories, sugar, salt and fat. It would also make water, milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juice the default drink for all kids’ meals.
The legislation is one of the first of its kind in the country to include healthier comprehensive options for both food and drinks. The bill would still allow families to order other meals or drinks upon request
Healthy eating is what saved Prince George’s County native James Tate’s life. He lost 200 pounds by changing his eating habits. Tate said he wished he law had been around when he was growing up.
“A lot of the restaurants in Prince George's County are fast food restaurants. Many of the children in the county live in what’s considered food deserts,” he said.
The bill “will give children a healthier option, no matter where they live in the county,” Tate added.
A 2020 RAND Corporation report to the county health board found that Latino high school students have the highest rates of obesity or being overweight in the county. The latest numbers show 30% of high school students in the county were either overweight or obese, according to the county’s 2017 health report.
The bill now goes to County Executive Angela Alsobrooks' desk for her to sign into law. Restaurants will be required to start offering healthy meals and drinks as the default kids’ option six months after the bill becomes law.