Water Access in Schools
Providing students with access to safe, free drinking water throughout the school day is one strategy schools can use to create an environment that supports health and learning.
Benefits of Drinking Water
Providing access to drinking water gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. It helps to increase students’ overall water consumption, maintain hydration, and reduce energy intake if substituted for sugar-sweetened beverages.1-3 Adequate hydration also may improve cognitive function in children and adolescents.4-8 Drinking water, if fluoridated, also plays a role in preventing dental caries (cavities).
Who should use this tool kit?
This tool kit can be used by school health councils, nutrition services providers, principals, teachers, parents, and other school staff who are interested in increasing access to drinking water. In addition, other stakeholders may choose to use the tool kit, such as public health partners, community members, and university staff, to support the implementation and evaluation of these efforts among schools.
- Kaushik A, Mullee MA, Bryant TN, Hill CM. A study of the association between children’s access to drinking water in primary schools and their fluid intake: can water be ‘cool’ in school? Child: Care, Health & Development 2007;33:409–15.
- Muckelbauer R, Libuda L, Clausen K, Toschke AM, Reinehr T, Kersting M. Promotion and provision of drinking water in schools for overweight prevention: randomized, controlled cluster trial. Pediatrics 2009;123:e661–e667.
- Wang Y C, Ludwig DS, Sonneville K, Gortmaker SL. Impact of change in sweetened caloric beverage consumption on energy intake among children and adolescents. Archieves of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine 2009; 163(4):336–343.
- Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews 2010;68(8):439–458.
- Kempton MJ, Ettinger U, Foster R, Williams SCR, Calvert GA, Hampshire A, et al. Dehydration affects brain structure and function in healthy adolescents. Human Brain Mapping 2011;32:71–79.
- Edmonds CJ, Jeffes B. Does having a drink help you think? 6-7-year-old children show improvements in cognitive performance from baseline to test after having a drink of water. Appetite 2009;53:469–472.
- Edmonds CJ, Burford D. Should children drink more water? The effects of drinking water on cognition in children. Appetite 2009;52:776–779.
- Benton D, Burgess N. The effect of the consumption of water on the memory and attention of children. Appetite 2009;53:143–146.