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The original item was published from 3/28/2023 4:38:21 PM to 12/31/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: March 28, 2023

[ARCHIVED] COUNCIL VICE-CHAIR WALA BLEGAY SEEKS TO SUPPORT RESTAURANT OWNERS OFFERING HEALTHIER FOODS IN...

COUNCIL VICE-CHAIR WALA BLEGAY SEEKS TO SUPPORT RESTAURANT OWNERS OFFERING HEALTHIER FOODS IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

During Council session on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, Prince George’s County Council Vice-Chair Wala Blegay, Esq. (District 6) introduced Council Bill-046-2023, an Act to establish a voluntary healthy restaurant program. If enacted, the Prince George’s County Government would support businesses that apply and offer foods deemed “healthy” by a Health Department registered dietician. County support would be offered in the form of promotions, grants, loans, and other incentives. Promotions would include publicity, advertising, marketing, and signage promoting the restaurants under the Healthy Restaurant Program.

Council Vice Chair Blegay says restaurants in the County need more healthy options. “There are very limited healthy restaurant options throughout communities in Prince George’s County, and our shopping centers are filled with many fast food options, which can lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. This legislation is intended to provide more healthy food options in our restaurants and help consumers in our community live a healthier life.”

Restaurants, as a condition of participating in this program, would have to offer at least one or more healthy food options, distinguish their healthy food options on the menu from non-healthy food options, and display them prominently near the point of ordering.

Furthermore, restaurants would participate in periodic program promotions and celebrations such as the annual Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, the Maryland Restaurant Week, and/or other such events.

Under the proposed legislation, the Health Department would set up a website with information about the healthy restaurants under this program, links to menus, and nutrition information. The Health Department would also perform outreach and marketing support by:

  • Providing a list of healthy restaurants to local elected officials, government commissions, committees agencies, local hospitals, colleges, universities, parent associations, and other large employers, and encourage them to order food for public and internal meetings from the “healthy” restaurants.
  • Hosting an annual restaurant recognition event and issuing invitations for local media coverage. 
  • Promoting Healthy Restaurants during the annual Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, the Maryland Restaurant Week, and/or similar events.
  • Collaborating with the local tourism or convention bureau to publicize healthy restaurants under the Program to visitors.
  • Holding press events announcing new healthy restaurants under this Program to local media outlets.
  • Placing ads in local newspapers, on radio and television stations, on websites, and in programs at youth and adult sporting and entertainment events.
  • Arranging for the Program to be promoted at local hospitals, colleges, universities, and other large employers.
  • Working with local YMCAs, gyms, and health clubs to promote the Program.
  • Working with local schools and affiliated parent associations to promote healthy restaurants under the Program.

Other assistance would be provided by the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, including zero interest loans for the restaurants certified under the Program.

In terms of promotions, the County would:

  • Pay for symbolic menu labeling for healthy food options at point of purchase.
  • Promote restaurants certified under the Program and the Program itself on the Prince George’s County website and on local government channels or programming. 
  • Promote restaurants certified under the Program and the Program itself on community way-finding signs and walking maps.

According to the Prince George’s Department of Health, one out of every three American adults are living with pre-diabetes. Being overweight and obese are risk factors for pre-diabetes and can lead to type 2 diabetes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 70% of adults in Prince George’s County and the United States, in general, are classified as overweight. 

District 7 Council Member Krystal Oriadha is also a proposer of CB-046-2023, which has been referred to the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GOFP) committee for legislative review. To learn more about the Prince George’s Council People’s Agenda, visit The People's Agenda | Prince George's County Legislative Branch, MD (pgccouncil.us)

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