ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new study offers a simple solution for getting children to drink more water in schools or child care settings – make it more convenient.
Researchers did a study in 12 middle schools – giving some schools cold-water pitchers, some a cold-water dispenser, and those two came with cups, signs and announcements. The rest just had their normal drinking fountains.
The findings – 20 percent more children drank water in schools that served it cold, with cups.
Dr. Anisha Patel, an assistant professor with the Division of General Pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital, says it’s an important finding, since most children don’t drink enough H2O.
“Hydration status is associated with how students perform in school, their cognitive functioning,” she points out. “It has no calories, no added sugar. It’s healthy.”
Water also helps fight obesity and cavities. A study done 5 years ago showed very few schools offer free water apart from their drinking fountains.
Patel says a recent federal law requires all school cafeterias to offer water free of charge. She hopes this study helps districts help their students make healthier choices.
“This wasn’t a very expensive intervention,” she points out. “It cost, over time, about 4 cents per student, per day.
“So, that was an important finding from our study, because we know that a lot of schools are really struggling and don’t have funding to implement new programs.”
Patel says many schools around the country are now opting to install filling stations for reusable water bottles.
Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service (NM)