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GUEST BLOG: Drinking Water Access for Our Kids

I’m back again this month with a topic recently brought to my attention by the American Heart Association - water access in schools, more specifically—water bottle filling stations. Many schools do not have water bottle filling stations or even access to clean drinking water. Crazy, right?

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Recently, the American Heart Association helped bring water filling stations to seven Springdale schools. The “H2O and GO” program provides kids with easier access and reusable water bottles. The purpose of the H2O and GO stations is to provide schoolchildren with more access to free, clean drinking water, no matter where they live, what school they attend or what grade they are in.

Every student needs to have access to clean water at their school – especially in the lunchroom. Water is a basic human need that kids cannot live without. Having water bottle filling stations is a necessity because schoolchildren can fill their bottles and take them to class, rather than regularly getting a drink from the water fountain. Additionally, unhealthy weight rates among schoolchildren continue to rise. Children in school are consuming sugary drinks over water because there is not enough access to water.  Reducing sugary-beverage consumption by promoting proper hydration is one way the American Heart Association and its allies are working to battle the region’s rising number of children who are at an unhealthy weight.

Fast Facts on Water Access in Schools:

  • Adequate water intake can positively impact children’s cognitive performance, particularly short-term memory. Drinking water can also improve children’s visual attention and fine motor skills.
  • Water plays an important role in maintaining a child’s overall health. Drinking water supports children’s muscles, joints, and tissues; improves their digestive system; and keeps their growing bodies hydrated.
  • Children who drink fluoridated water instead of sugary drinks have a reduced risk of dental cavities. 
  • Substituting sugary drinks with low or no calorie beverages, such as water, can prevent excess weight gain.

How can you get involved? You can start by urging your school to incorporate water bottle filling stations throughout the school. Also, we need to educate children and parents on the importance of living a healthy life. Actually, the AHA has made taking action as easy as clicking HERE.

We are doing our generation a serious disservice if we do not push for healthier choices in school, starting with easier access to water.  We need to protect the health of the next generation. When children do not have easy access to water at school, they turn to easily accessible sugary drinks. Making water bottle filling stations more accessible to students and teachers will cut down the consumption of sugary drinks to promote oral health and support a healthy weight.

Along with schools, we also need to incorporate water bottle filling stations in workplaces and in public spaces. Imagine going to work and seeing places to fill up your water bottle! This will reduce the amount of water you have to buy and will keep people from buying unhealthy drinks from vending machines. Water bottle filling stations are simply a necessity in our communities. In order to get bottle filling stations added to places around our community, we have to express the need for them.

We need to partner with the AHA to raise awareness for clean, easy water access in our schools and communities! At my school, we have bottle filling stations in our new gym, but we do not have them in our main building. I am going to try my best to express to our school board just how bad we need water bottle filling stations in our school. What can you do to make change happen?

I encourage you to work as hard as you can to advocate for easy water access for your school. The AHA has already done so much to bring easy access to water in schools, and we need to further their efforts. Water access and filling stations are necessary for the health of our generation, but we must act now!

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you now become passionate about bringing water access to our schools and communities.

As always, so much love! I’ll catch you all next month!

Hannah Walker

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