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Harvard Study: Serve Schoolchildren More Water

This article is more than 7 years old.
(Roger McLassus/Wikimedia Commons)
(Roger McLassus/Wikimedia Commons)

My kids report that their teachers do let them keep water bottles under their desks during class, but this study looked at actively pushing water during after-school programs. The press release:

How To Help School Children Cut Calories? Serve More Water

A simple way to keep students from reaching for sugary drinks and unhealthy foods is to serve more water in schools and afterschool programs throughout the day, report researchers at Harvard School of Public Health in a new study. As simple as the idea sounds, the researchers found access to drinking water is sometimes limited in schools.

The study appears online and in the September print issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

In the Out of School Nutrition and Physical Activity (OSNAP) intervention study, the researchers provided water and cups to 20 afterschool programs throughout the city of Boston. The researchers partnered with Boston Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services to change afterschool snack menus so that water was always served and juice was served less frequently. Over the six month study, they measured water consumption before and after the experiment. The amount of water each child drank went up on average 3.6 ounces; calorie intake dropped by about 61 calories per day as the water intake increased. Calorie-laden fruit juice was replaced with fresh fruit. Workshops were held to give the staff ideas on ways to increase water consumption.

This program aired on September 17, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Carey Goldberg Twitter Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.

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