In New York City, most public school cafeterias have a Snapple vending machine, or two or three – part of a $40 million deal the city made a few years ago. Parents and school food critics are still steaming about it. But if the city pays attention to a study done in Germany recently, school officials might start filling those machines with water instead.
The study looked at nearly 3,000 second- and third-them children. Filtered water was provided in the cafeteria (carbonated upon request), water bottles were given to the children, and lesson plans about the body’s need for water were given to the teachers. Children recorded their beverage consumption every day, and the teachers organized group trips to fill water bottles.
At the end of the school year, the children who were encouraged in these ways to drink more water were 30 percent less likely to be overweight than the children in a control group who were not given water bottles, lessons about water, or increased access to filtered water. Researchers aren’t sure how the water drinking affected their weight. Did they drink less juice and soda? Did they eat less food? All we know is what we already knew: water is good. Drink up.