Water Dispensers at School May Encourage Kids to Drink More

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SUNDAY, Jan. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Students drank three times more water after water dispensers were installed in the cafeterias of New York City schools.

Researchers looked at nine public elementary, middle and high schools that received the water dispensers and a control group of students at 10 schools that didn't get them. The students' water consumption was checked before the water dispensers were installed, and 3.5 months and 10 months after their installation.

After the water dispensers were installed, students drank three times more water at lunchtime compared to students in the control group.

Eighty percent of students noticed the water dispensers when they were installed. Two-thirds of those who noticed them used them, and half of those who noticed them drank more water at lunchtime, according to the researchers.

Milk consumption declined slightly just after the water dispensers were installed. But, that effect appeared to subside after one year, according to the study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health.

Officials plan to install water dispensers in more than 1,000 New York City public schools. As of mid-2014, they had been installed in more than 800 schools, the researchers said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about drinking water.