This study aimed to investigate how access to free drinking water in California public schools changed after implementation of 2010 federal and state school water policies. Repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted with administrators in a random sample of California public schools, stratified by school type and urban-centric geography, from 2010 to 2011 (n = 240) and from 2016 to 2018 (n = 240). Surveys assessed excellence in drinking water access, defined as 1) providing water in 4 of 5 key school locations, 2) having a high density of free water available, 3) providing water via a non-fountain source, 4) providing water that is perceived as safe, and 5) offering water sources that are reported as clean and functioning. In 2010–2011, 5% of schools met all water excellence criteria; in 2016–2018, 18% of schools met all excellence criteria. In adjusted models, post-legislation schools had 4 times the odds of meeting all drinking water excellence criteria compared to pre-legislation schools. There were significant increases in public schools meeting the criteria for excellence in free drinking water access after school water policies were implemented; however, a majority of schools still lacked excellent water access. Findings suggest that policies mandating free water access in schools may help to improve excellence in access, and more work is needed to help all schools excel in this area.
Drinking water access in California schools: Room for improvement following implementation of school water policies
Examining Policies Providing Access to Free Water in Schools and the Health Impact of an Alternative to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
This award will support a natural experiment that will (1) examine the change in free drinking water access in Food Service Areas in California public schools from before to after Senate Bill 1413/Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act implementation; (2) assess changes in the proportion of schools with excellent water access … More
Strong nutrition standards for school meals, consistent with evidence-based recommendations, position children for optimal health and wellbeing. Strong science supports the link between lowering sodium intake and better health. This new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research examines the recent history of sodium standards for school meals. It highlights current sodium intake … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More