Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Water fountains in schools pevent obesity
A German study ,published in Pediatrics recently, found that installing water fountains in schools and promoting water consumption to the students resulted in a 31% reduced risk of overweight.
The intervention group included 1641 2nd and 3rd graders from 17 elementary schools in socially deprived areas of 2 German cities whereas the control group (didn't receive any intervention) were 1309 students of the same grades in 15 schools in the same areas. Water fountains were installed in the intervention schools and teachers presented 4 classes promoting water consumption. At the end of the year, the risk of overweight was reduced by 31% in the intervention group.
It's not really understood why the risk of overweight dropped in this group. They did drink 1.1 glasses more water a day than the control group, but there was no significant difference in BMI between the groups and no significant change in juice or soft drink consumption was found.
Because the children were still growing, the goal of the study wasn't to promote weight loss but to slow weight gain. Perhaps the increased water consumption led the kids to consume a bit less calories from other drinks (that was not detected in the study), maybe they ate a bit less food (daily food consumption wasn't measured).
Evidently, the study needs to be replicated but the preliminary results are interesting. Of course, who knows what the result would be in American schools given that vending machines selling junk food and sugary soda and drinks are more prevalent... but it's worth a try, no?