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
"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
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."
As many schools are scaling back their implementation of the Healthy
Hunger-Free Kids Act, Georgia is providing incentives to schools that
are working to serve better food to their students. Research shows that
children must be exposed to vegetables 10 to 12 times before they will
eat them on their own. Programs that increase this exposure in new
settings will help young people develop healthy eating haits that they
will carry with them well into adulthood.
"We know that even our youngest learners need to start understanding why
healthy food choices and exercise lead to a path of a lifelong health
and well-being," said Bobby Cagle, Commissioner, Georgia Department of
Early Care and Learning. "That is why the Dole Food Company and
Lieutenant Governor Cagle's Healthy Kids Georgia Program are going to
make a real difference as they recognize Quality Rated child care
programs that are committed to making health, nutrition and physical
activity a priority. Public-private partnerships like this play a
vitally important role in helping us meet our goals of nurturing
Georgia's youngest children, keeping them safe and healthy, and
enriching their lives."
About Dole Food Company
Dole, with 2011 net revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world's largest
producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables,
and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing
line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in
nutrition education and research.
About Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is
responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of
Georgia's children and their families. It administers the nationally
recognized Georgia's Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and
home-based child care, administers Georgia's Childcare and Parent
Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages
voluntary quality enhancement programs.
The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office,
distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of
child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource
and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance
early care and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.
About Healthy Kids Georgia
An initiative of Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, the Lt. Governor's Healthy
Kids Georgia is a collaboration of the Office of Lieutenant Governor,
the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program, and
other corporate and community partners. Formed in 2010 to address the
epidemic levels of childhood obesity in Georgia and the serious physical
and emotional consequences of the problem, the program encourages
schools to partner with their local communities and the Healthy Schools
program to confront the childhood obesity crisis by implementing health
and wellness programs in Georgia's schools. Additionally, through Public
Private Partnerships, Healthy Kids Georgia is the conduit for corporate
support strategies to be implemented throughout the state upholding the
mission to promote healthy lifestyles.
About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes
innovative solutions to improve the lives of youth and their families,
seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today.
The Foundation invests in early childhood development, education, green
space, and the arts and leads giving programs for each of the Blank
Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons. Mr. Blank
co-founded The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement
retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001.
Through the foundation and his family's personal giving, Mr. Blank has
granted more than $250 million to various charitable organizations.
Visit the Foundation web site for more information at www.BlankFoundation.org.
About YMCA Metro Atlanta
The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined
together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids,
promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility.
Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure
everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity
to learn grow and connect. Visit http://www.ymcaatlanta.org
or call 404-588-YMCA (9622).
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