A study published recently in the JAMA Pediatrics journal reveals that water dispensers placed in schools could help students lose weight. The study is based on one million students from more than one thousand middle and elementary schools from New York and it is the first research that ever linked the water jets or dispensers to weight loss.
Before the research began, the public schools in the city have prohibited the sale of sweet beverages, but the students were still allowed to bring these beverages to school. Researchers believed that substituting water with all the other beverages would bring an improvement and wanted to see exactly which was it.
Data of the students weight and BMI was collected before and after the study. There was a weight loss registered of 0,6% for girls and 0,9% for boys. Also, the BMI was reduced with 0,022 for girls and 0,025% for boys. The study’s findings showed that even a small change like providing water for the students can improve their health. 483 of the schools involved in the study already had a water dispenser in the cafeteria, but there were 744 schools who had none.
The Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from New York City started to introduce the water jets in schools in 2009. The water dispensers that are powered electronically cost just $1,000, according to the researchers. During the period of the research, 40% of the public schools in New York City received water dispensers. The period of the research included the academic years between 2008 and 2009 and 2012 to 2013. The water dispensers were replaced in every school’s cafeteria.
This research is extremely important, as the obesity in kids is higher than ever in the United States, the number of obese children being twice the number of obese adults, according to Medical News Today. The sweetened beverages are closely linked to obesity in children so replacing these beverages with water in schools is the best step towards a country with less obese children and adults.
According to Dr. David Katz from the Yale University, the study demonstrates some simple, but fundamental principles. These are the following: water is the best beverage to drink when feeling thirsty, the choices we tend to make are limited by the choices we do have and that more access to water means more people that are doing to drink it.
According to the author of the study, Brian Elbel, water dispensers placed in schools could help students lose weight and improve their overall health considerably. He also recommended that the sweetened beverages should be cut at home as well and parents should encourage their kids to drink more water.
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