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Supporting Obesity Prevention in Statewide Quality Rating and Improvement Systems: A Review of State Standards
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    Prev Chronic Dis
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    Introduction A quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) is a fundamental component of most states’ early care and education infrastructures. States can use a QRIS to set standards that define high-quality care and award child care providers with a quality rating designation based on how well they meet these standards. The objective of this review was to describe the extent to which states’ QRIS standards include obesity prevention content. Methods We collected publicly available data on states’ QRIS standards. We compared states’ QRIS standards with 47 high-impact obesity prevention components in Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd Edition, and 6 additional topics based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Spectrum of Opportunities for Obesity Prevention in the Early Care and Education Setting. Results Thirty-eight states operated a state-wide QRIS in early 2015. Of those, 27 states’ QRIS included obesity prevention standards; 20 states had at least one QRIS standard that aligned with the high-impact obesity prevention components, and 21 states had at least one QRIS standard that aligned with at least one of the 6 additional topics. QRIS standards related to the physical activity high-impact obesity prevention components were the most common, followed by components for screen time, nutrition, and infant feeding. Conclusion The high proportion of states operating a QRIS that included obesity prevention standards, combined with the widespread use of QRISs among states, suggests that a QRIS is a viable way to embed obesity prevention standards into state early care and education systems.
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