Maryland Passes New Bill in Quest for Healthier Fast Food


Anna Hoffmann

McDonalds is known for its inexpensive, but unhealthy food.

Anna Hoffmann, Writer

The United States is peppered with countless fast food restaurants. You can find a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Wendy’s, or another similar chain on the edge of every highway, perfectly placed for when a potential customer finds themselves hungry. The system works quite well. Your car simply has to pass through the drive-through. The most you’ll ever have to do is roll down your window and reach for your order (which, miraculously, has already been churned out by the time you have reached the end of the drive-through). Bubbling soda, shiny burger, and salty fries in hand, you eagerly dig in. Your food was made suspiciously quickly and cost you practically nothing, but you try not to think about that as you finish off your dinner.

The residents of Prince George County in Maryland are no strangers to the common American experience of fast food indulgence, but they are passing a new bill, dubbed the Healthy Kids Meal Bill. They believe the passage of this bill is a considerable step towards a healthier county, and possibly a healthier country. 

What is the Healthy Kids Meal Bill? 

The Healthy Kids Meal Bill sets in motion a five-year plan to reconstruct the types of foods restaurants can serve to children. It may not seem too revolutionary, but it will be the nation’s most extensive kids meal nutrition policy to date, possibly alluding to how little value we place on the health of children. The bill starts by requiring that every restaurant offer water, milk, or one hundred percent juice to accompany kids meals instead of soda. In addition, the bill will make it mandatory that every restaurant offers at least one healthy side dish and main meal. 

What Does this Mean for the Nation?  

Prince George County’s bill is among the many healthy kids meal bills that countries, states, and counties have passed. In fact, Baltimore, a major city in Maryland, passed a very similar bill in 2018. Plans and promises for a healthier America, specifically healthier American youth, seem to continually be in the works. However, the bill in Prince George County is different and will cause significant change because it expands greatly upon previous proposals. The bill also addresses poverty in relation to fast food which, arguably, is the root of the problem. The Healthy Kids Meal Bill is predicted to better the health of the residents of Prince George County and, if it goes well, it could be used as a template for kids meal regulation across the country. 

Poverty and Fast Food 

Access to fast food is much more prevalent in poverty-stricken areas.  It is inexpensive and it is convenient for working parents with children. This means that areas with more poverty are likely to be less healthy overall. The Healthy Kids Meal Bill, has provisions to make healthier food available at a more affordable price. Not only will children be healthier, but it could also break the cycle of unhealthiness among impoverished children. Eating a lot of fast food as a child makes it harder to eat healthier later in life. Hopefully, this bill will change the mindsets of the kids in Prince George County as they look at the kids menu.