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CHOICES Study Assesses the Cost-Effectiveness of Water Promotion Strategies in Schools

A new study from CHOICES found that installing chilled water dispensers on school lunch lines could be a relatively low-cost strategy to help children drink more water and prevent future cases of childhood obesity.

Child drinking waterIncreasing access to and promotion of drinking water in schools could help improve child health in a number of ways, including better hydration, improved cognition, and healthier teeth, if the water is fluoridated. The authors of a new CHOICES study sought to estimate the cost-effectiveness of installing chilled water dispensers (known as “water jets”) on school lunch lines and how it could impact childhood obesity by comparing it with three other school water promotion strategies. To facilitate this study, the team used the CHOICES microsimulation model to estimate over a ten-year time frame the impact of each of the four strategies on children in kindergarten through eighth grade attending schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The team concluded that making water jets available for students on school lunch lines could save almost half of the money required to install these dispensers, and could positively impact child health. Interventions that promote drinking water are lower-cost solutions to consider adding to the toolkit of public health school-based strategies to reduce obesity risk.

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Cost-Effectiveness of Water Promotion Strategies in Schools for Preventing Childhood Obesity and Increasing Water Intake.
Kenney EL, Cradock AL, Long MW, Barrett JL, Giles CM, Ward ZJ, Gortmaker SL. Obesity. 2019 Dec. doi:10.1002/oby.22615.