Last week the Altarum Institute released a report highlighting Arizona as one of only 10 states to successfully integrate physical activity and nutrition criteria into Quality Rating and Improvement Systems for child care facilities. In Arizona, the quality rating system for child care is known as Quality First and is administered by First Things First. To be eligible for Quality First, child care providers need to be licensed and participate in EMPOWER, which offers reduced licensing fees to child care providers who agree to adopt 10 healthy standards (related to nutrition, physical activity, screen time, and tobacco prevention). More than 90% of Arizona’s 2,626 licensed child care sites participate in EMPOWER, meaning that more than 240,000 Arizona kids are getting more physical activity than ever before.
By the way, our team has also created loads of tools to support implementation of EMPOWER, including a short video series that highlighted actual centers and homes in Arizona with real staff showing and discussing how they incorporated things such as family style meals, physical activity, and breastfeeding support into their childcare centers which have been featured on the Let’s Move Child Care website.