City schools are finding that easily available drinking water encourages healthy habits in kids. When dispensers of cool fresh tap water are conveniently placed near lunch lines, researchers found that children drink water nearly three times more often than they did before.
Lead author of the study Brian Elbel said “The water jets definitely made it easier to get water. It was in a convenient place and could be ‘fun’ for younger kids, given that you generally got to fill your cup yourself.”
“The idea is to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” Elbel said. “Of course you can lead a kid to water but you can’t always make her drink.”
“But the water jet does very much increase the likelihood that this will happen,” said Elbel. He is an associate professor of Population Health and Health Policy at the New York University School of Medicine.
Elbel and his team wrote in the American Journal of Public Health that drinking more water can replace high calorie sugary drinks, and thus is important for discouraging obesity and cavities in kids. The water jets the study are clear plastic jugs filled with clear, aerated water.