Beverage industry wrong about Ulman

Ellen Valentino and the beverage Industry are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts ("Ulman drink ban is heavy-handed," Dec. 18).

Ms. Valentino's assertion that the beverage industry has "voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools in Howard County" is simply not true. Walk into many county middle schools and high schools and you will see rows of vending machines offering an assortment of full calorie drinks. Some school vending machines even sell 20-ounce full-calorie drinks. The beverage industry talks a good game when it comes to childhood obesity efforts, but its follow-through is mythical at best.

Secondly, her assertion that Howard County Executive Ken Ulman's executive order eliminates beverage choice is absurd. The order guarantees that healthy beverage choices will now be available in government buildings, parks, libraries, and as a part of all government programming.

Every Mom and Dad that sends their child to the library, a recreation and parks program, a summer camp, or to a county sporting event can feel good that at least the beverages offered won't spoil their child's dinner or add extra inches to their child's waistlines.

It's hard to make a healthy choice when most vending machines are filled with junk food and sugary drinks. Here's a big thank you to Mr. Ulman for making it a little easier for county residents to be healthy.

Rev. Robert Turner, Columbia

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