With all the money and effort being put into reducing childhood obesity rates, a new study suggests that part of the answer may lie in something as simple as a water fountain. When some schools recently encouraged drinking water at lunch, researchers found that students’ overall BMI dropped.
Time reports about how students in New York City welcomed the addition of drinking fountains called “water jets” in their school cafeteria recently as part of an effort to get kids to eat and drink healthier. The schools also removed sugary and artificially flavored drinks from the menu as part of this effort.
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that with these efforts, these New York schools have seen a “slight but significant decrease” in the overall BMI of their students as well as students who were considered overweight. Some may argue that all schools have water fountains but are not seeing these results., Researchers believe students find the more high tech water jet more appealing than regular water fountains.
The water jets are placed prominently where students eat lunch and offer cool, filtered tap water whereas regular water fountains may be further from the cafeteria or offer room temperature water. Previous studies have found that these water jets can increase a students’ water consumption as much as 3 times. Lead author of the study Brian Elbel explains that it may not seem like much but the simple act of encouraging water consumption can help in childhood obesity. He says, “It’s a small effect but it’s an effect. With childhood obesity, we’re looking for any effect, so the fact that we found something small is important.”
What do you think of the new study that suggests adding drinking fountains to school cafeterias can lower obesity rates?
Would you like to see a water jet installed in your child’s school?