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Boosting Hydration in Schools

by: Marge Robison, MPH, RDN, LD

How fortunate we are to live in one of only 50 countries in the world, according to the CDC, to have water that you can drink from the tap. For children, consuming adequate water is important for physiological reasons and for the adoption of healthy drinking habits. Being adequately hydrated improves moods, memory, and attention in children. However, according to a 2019 study, it seems that even though children spend much of their day in school, they only drink 14% of their total fluid intake at school.

School cafeterias play a critical role in ensuring that students have access to healthy meals and beverages throughout the school day. As students engage in various physical and mental activities, they must stay hydrated to maintain optimal performance and overall health. To this end, schools can:

  • Introduce hydration stations in the cafeteria. This could be a wall-mounted water dispenser or as simple as a large insulated water cooler. In addition to promoting water intake, hydration stations can also help to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles, which can help to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainability.

  • Water doesn’t have to be boring! Try a twist with infused water as an option. Infused water is simply water that has been infused with fruits, vegetables, and herbs to give it a unique flavor without adding any extra sugar or calories. It is a fun and creative way to encourage students to explore new flavors and experiment with different fruits and vegetables…think ‘spa water’ in the cafeteria!

  • Make water available with all meals and snacks and encourage water before, during, and after physical activity.

  • Promote the uses of reusable water bottles! How about doing a school fundraiser that sells water bottles with the school logo and mascot? Show spirit and stay hydrated!

By providing students with easy access to clean drinking water, schools can help to promote healthy habits and support the well-being of their students.


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