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Most schools meet USDA drinking water mandate; more steps needed to encourage consumption
Date:4/8/2014

, and one-fourth of adolescents drink less than one serving of water a day. In lieu of water, many kids drink sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), which can contribute to obesity and dental problems.

The USDA requirement was designed to give students better access to free drinking water during lunchtime. Investigators found that most schools met the requirement through drinking fountains in the cafeteria, water pitchers on lunch tables, cups to use at drinking fountains, or by providing free bottled water. While most schools were in compliance with the new regulations, the study found that schools in the South were more likely to meet the requirement than schools in any other region of the United States. "This is consistent with other nationally-representative research showing that school districts in the South have made faster progress in developing nutrition-related school wellness policies, and that they have stronger policies than do districts in other regions of the US," says corresponding author Lindsey Turner, PhD, Research Scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study also looked at potential obstacles that might prevent students from taking advantage of free drinking water. Researchers found that although most study respondents indicated that the drinking fountains in their school were "clean" or "very clean," there was still worry about drinking fountain cleanliness. Water quality was also an issue, with about one-quarter of middle and high school students attending schools where respondents indicated they were at least "a little" concerned about the quality of the drinking water.

Another issue that might prevent students from fully utilizing the free drinking water is ease of access and use of drinking fountains. "Although many schools rely on water fountains," explains Dr. Turner, "fountains may not be very effective at encouraging water consumption. The elementary st
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Contact: Eileen Leahy
andjrnlmedia@elsevier.com
732-238-3628
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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