Most schools meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s drinking-water requirements, but students still aren’t drinking enough water, a study concludes.
Published in the April issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the study was produced by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Chicago to examine schools taking part in the National School Lunch Program. The USDA mandated increased access to free drinking water for program participants beginning in 2011-12. Most schools complied by providing cafeteria drinking fountains, water pitchers, or bottled water.
Yet fewer than one-third of children and teenagers got the recommended daily water intake—about five cups for schoolchildren younger than 8.
The authors say the presence of water fountains may not, by itself, be enough to overcome the inadequate intake. Without water being readily available at their lunch tables, students have to make special trips to fountains, or wait in line for it. And younger students may need permission to visit a water fountain.
A version of this article appeared in the April 16, 2014 edition of Education Week as Student Health