Youth water consumption is inadequate. Increasing adolescent water consumption could support decreased dental caries and body mass index (BMI). Most schools are required to provide free, potable water. However, there is evidence that schools’ self-reported compliance data overestimate access to water in schools. We tested the feasibility of using student citizen scientists to collect high quality observational data about water sources in schools. We trained 12 teams of high school students to use a validated photo-evidence protocol to photograph and submit data on water sources in elementary and secondary schools. We surveyed students and advisors to assess student learning, advisor burden, and project feasibility. Students submitted data for 325 water sources across 40 racially and economically diverse schools. We were able to use 99% of the student-submitted photographs to measure water source wear, cleanliness, accessibility, and flow. The majority of students (72%, N = 70) spent under 2 hours photographing each school. The majority of students and advisors felt the project was valuable and feasible.
Training High School Student “Citizen Scientists” to Document School Water Access: A Feasibility Study
Development and Validation of a Photo‐Evidence Tool to Examine Characteristics of Effective Drinking Water Access in Schools
Federal law requires water access in schools where meals are served. Schools report high rates of water accessibility in cafeterias, but observations indicate lower adherence. Although observation is costly, it permits a more detailed assessment of a water source to determine whether it provides effective access that encourages water consumption … More
More than half of school-age children are under-hydrated, and too many routinely drink sugary beverages, making it harder for their minds and bodies to work well. Drinking water in place of sugary drinks is an important public health strategy to help all children grow up at a healthy weight and … More
Developing, Validating and Feasibility Testing a Cost-Effective Photo-Evidence Method to Assess Effectiveness of Access to Drinking Water in Schools
This study will develop and validate a photo-evidence method to measure effectiveness of water access in schools since the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires that potable water be available to children at no charge during mealtimes in areas where meals are served. The aims of this study … More