Drinking water instead of beverages with added sugar can help prevent obesity and cavities and promote overall health. Children spend much of their day in school, where they have variable access to drinking water. In 2010, federal and state law required California public schools to provide free potable water to students in areas where meals are served and/or eaten. The current study aims to identify factors associated with an excellent drinking water culture in schools. A qualitative assessment of barriers and facilitators to providing excellent water quality and access was conducted in a purposive sample of California schools. In-depth interviews with key informants were conducted using a snowball sampling approach, after which data were analysed using both inductive and deductive methods. Six themes emerged as prominent facilitators to a school’s success in providing excellent water access to students: active and engaged champions, school culture and policy, coordination between groups, community influences, available resources and environmentalism. While policy is an important step for achieving minimum standards, resources and interest in promoting excellence in drinking water access and quality can vary among schools. Ensuring that schools have dedicated staff committed to advancing student health and promoting the benefits of water programs that are more salient to schools could help reduce disparities in drinking water excellence across schools.
Stories of Success: A Qualitative Examination of Contributors to Excellence in School Drinking Water Access
Testing Drinking Water in California Public Schools for Lead and Other Contaminants in the Context of an Obesity-Prevention Strategy
Drinking water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages is an important obesity prevention strategy. Although schools have taken great strides to improve drinking water access, the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and its aftermath have highlighted the importance of assuring that the water provided in schools is safe to drink. This study … 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
Drinking water access in California schools: Room for improvement following implementation of school water policies
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 … More