Published: September 2020

ID #: 73248

Journal: Prev Med Rep

Authors: Altman EA, Lee KL, Hecht CA, Hampton KE, Moreno G, Patel AI

See more related research


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.

Related Research

December 2015

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 and barriers and facilitators to More

November 2021

Rural Schools: Challenges and Opportunities for School Meal Programs

Children and adolescents living in rural communities are at increased risk of obesity and food insecurity. Schools can play an essential role in addressing diet-related disparities, but multiple factors can impact the cafeteria environment and student participation in school meal programs. School nutrition professionals face unique challenges in meal operations. To develop solutions to these More

October 2021

Promising and Low-Cost Strategies to Improve School Meal Consumption

The aim of this research brief is to highlight and summarize the evidence of promising, low-maintenance, and low-cost strategies that can be implemented by school districts to increase the consumption of healthy school meals. All of these strategies have been associated with meaningful improvements in meal consumption and require minimal funding and technical support, making More