Providing access to drinking water throughout the school day gives students a healthy alternative to sugary beverages like soda pop, and sports/juice drinks. Drinking plenty of water can help combat obesity, increase energy levels and may improve students’ cognitive functions. Further, if fluoridated, drinking water also plays an important role in preventing cavities.
As part of its Rethink Your Drink campaign, the Delta Dental Foundation has committed $100,000 to replace existing drinking fountains at a number of selected schools in Ohio with new Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations.
Fifty-four schools from more than 40 cities in Ohio will soon receive new water fountains, thanks to $200,000 in funding from the Delta Dental Foundation (DDF).
The schools are winners of the DDF’s Rethink Your Drink: Water’s Cool at School program.
The two local schools who will receive these new drinking fountains are North Adams Elementary School and West Union High School.
The program is designed to encourage children to drink more water during the school day.
“More than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. do not drink enough water during the school day. This can impact behavior, energy levels and cognitive function. And when kids choose to quench their thirst with sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda pop, juice and sports drinks, it can have adverse effects on their oral and overall health,” said Teri Battaglieri, Delta Dental Foundation director.
Winning schools will have old drinking fountains replaced with Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations by Michigan-based Balfrey & Johnston. The winners will also receive reusable water bottles for students and staff.
More than 600 schools applied for the grants, and winners were selected based on several criteria, including age and condition of their drinking fountains, creativity of their applications, percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and geographic location.
The program was piloted in Michigan at Okemos Public Montessori at Central in September 2016. Within the first month, students increased their water consumption and saved more than 2,200 empty water bottles from going into a landfill.