A new study uncovered that providing drinking water in schools could lower obesity rates as well as the number of overweight students. Obesity has become a major problem in the United States, with several health risks such as diabetes, heart problems and stroke. Childhood obesity is among the issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around 17% of all children are obese. This is in lieu of the growing industry of both fast food and sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) that mount more to the problem. Sugary drinks, in particular, have the potential of being easily eliminated. Water is certainly the best replacement.
Researchers started a study in 2009 in more than 1,200 schools in New York City. For the following five years, until 2014, they examined the BMI of over 1 million children attending. Around 40% of the schools received drinking fountains with water jets that provide quick access to cool, oxygenated water. They were installed in school cafeterias.
Their findings suggest that in the years of follow-ups, the BMI of the children was reduced, witnessing a weight loss due to the option of pure drinking water. Children was less likely to resort to sugary drinks, which hold around 200 calories, or chocolate milk, with around 160 calories. It seems that they had the inclination of opting for the zero calorie of chill water, which arrived with several health benefits.
Among them was weight management. At the end of the study, the researchers stated that the overall BMI saw to a 0.025 reduction. Boys were 0.9% slimmer than those in schools without water jets, and girls had a 0.6% less likelihood of becoming overweight. What is a relatively low-cost option was effective in helping children trim down extra pounds.
According to lead author of the study, Dr. Brian Elbel, from the NYU School of Medicine, doing something as simple as providing free water has positive impacts on their health. For a price of around $1,000 per unit, it could be seen with excellent improvement that would be further fueled by other factors. A healthy diet and physical activity could see a boost after swapping sugary beverages with water.
While that has been common knowledge, it’s also apparent that it works for children when given an easy accessible option.
However, Dr. Elbel stated that additional research is required to assess the potential mechanisms behind it, along with long-term effects. Water jets could be an important tool in preventing childhood obesity, and it shows that a simple solution can have a powerful effect.
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