Today, Dole Food Company (NYSE: DOLE) and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s Healthy Kids Georgia Program announced a partnership with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to promote good nutrition and increased physical activity in early childcare and education programs.
“Georgia’s childhood obesity epidemic is too large for any one organization or person to address alone. We must work together to collaboratively present our children and families with healthy lifestyle options so we can bring about real change and tackle this daunting challenge,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “Innovative public-private partnerships, like the one we are launching today, that bring together state, private, and community resources to confront the troubling trends we face in childhood obesity will have a lasting impact on future generations.”
The new program, called Quality Rated, is Georgia’s newly implemented quality rating and improvement system. Programs voluntarily participating in Quality Rated receive points by demonstrating commitment to five program standards, including child health, nutrition and physical activity. Standard 2 offers early care and education programs the opportunity to reflect on their current health and nutrition standards and identify areas that can be improved. Points are assessed for this standard based on the completion of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Assessment; written improvement plans with documentation of actions taken to complete the plans; and evidence that the program has met each of the requirements listed for the standard.
“This is the third year of our partnership with the Lt. Governor and Healthy Kids Georgia and the DECAL program is the most comprehensive element to date,” said Marty Ordman, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Dole Food Company. “Quality Rated rewards early childhood education program that are meeting important nutrition standards and we’re honored to help projects hit these goals by exposing young students to more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.”