In an effort to put a stop to Georgia’s alarming childhood obesity problem, state leaders are partnering with a global corporation to get an early start in shaping healthy lifestyles for Georgia’s youngest citizens.
Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s Healthy Kids Georgia Program and the Dole Food Company are joining forces with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) to promote good nutrition and increased physical activity in early childcare and education programs in a new program, called Quality Rated. Programs voluntarily participating in Quality Rated receive points by demonstrating commitment to five standards, including child health, nutrition and physical activity. The effort calls on programs to work beyond levels of licensing compliance. Dole and Healthy Kids Georgia will recognize program nutritionists and provide incentives for programs that commit to higher nutrition and physical activity standards.
In 2010, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Georgia Data Summary reported that 28,000 (24 percent) of the state’s third graders are obese, along with 43,000 (15 percent) of middle school students and 55,000 (12 percent) of high school students. The state currently ranks second highest in the nation for rates of childhood obesity. Other state programs, including Georgia SHAPE, that aim to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating among school children are working to bring those numbers down.
The Quality Rated program will officially kick off at an event on Friday, Dec. 14, at 9:45 a.m. at the Arthur M. Blank Family Youth YMCA.