A New Study Shows That Drinking More Water Can Help With Student Weight Loss
Written by: Justin Cowart
In New York City, helping to make water more readily available to the public schools through self-serve water dispensers inside cafeterias was able to result in small, yet statistically significant declines in the weight of New York students, according to these new findings.
The study, which will be published in January’s online issue of JAMA Pediatrics, was conducted by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center. In the research, the teams reports on the analysis of more than one million different students in 1,227 middle and elementary schools across the city.
Their paper, which compares students in schools with and without the water dispensers they call “water jets,” is the very first to establish a strong link between weight loss and the program.
The associate professor from the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, Brian Elbel, PhD, says that,
“This study demonstrates that doing something as simple as providing free and readily available water to students may have positive impacts on their overall health, particularly weight management. Our findings suggest that this relatively low-cost intervention is, in fact, working.”
New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene alongside the Department of Education in 2009 began introducing the water jets, which are large, clear electronically powered jugs equipped with a push lever for dispensing water, into the schools. Each water jet only costs around $1,000.
Over the course of the study period, about 40% of schools received a water jet during the academic schools years of 2008-09 all the way through 2012-13.
Utilizing weight and height data that had been collected annually by the schools to help assess the fitness level of their students, the investigators compared the overweight status and BMI for all the students before and after the introduction of the new water jets.
The results of the study showed positive changes; the students attending the schools that had been equipped with water jets for about 3 months saw a reduction in standardized body mass index or .022 for girls and .025 for boys, when compared to students attending schools without these new water jets. The adoption of these water jets was also associated with a .6% point reduction in the likelihood of being overweight for girls and a .9% reduction in boys.
The authors of this study were able to conclude that if students had easy access to water during lunch, then the kids would substitute it for other beverages like soda, juice and chocolate milk (to make note: New York city public schools decided to stop allowing the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages before the students’ study period, but the students still chose to bring them in from outside).
The American Journal of Public Health by Dr. Elbel and other colleagues, published a 2015 study that found that water consumption increased three-fold within three months after the schools introduced the water jets. Additionally, between the 2008-2013 academic years, the milk purchases dropped at schools equipped with water jets by about 12 half-pint cartons per student per year, according to the new study.
Director of the NYU Institute for Education, Amy Ellen Schwartz, PhD. and Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in public Affairs stated that,
“Decreasing the amount of caloric beverages consumed and simultaneously increasing water consumption is important to promote children’s health and decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity. Schools are a natural setting for such interventions.”
Just under 40% of children are obese or overweight in New York City. In addition to deciding to install water jets in their schools, the city has also enacted policies to help combat obesity and support child health, which includes improving nutrition standards, expanding vegetable and fruit offerings and even removing soda from their vending machines.
With the conclusion of this study, it seems to show that if you drink more water, your body will naturally strive to be healthier. Allowing you to lead a higher quality of life.
We would love to hear your opinions and thoughts about the topic in the comments below!
Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
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