Hamilton County Board of Education unanimously voted to approve improved Water Access policy for students last month. The addendum will be added to the existing student wellness policy, which includes that all newly constructed or majorly renovated schools will have water bottle refilling stations installed.
This commitment is part of the American Heart Association’s priorities to make schools students healthier and safer. The organization aims to pass similar water bottle refilling stations policy statewide.
Hamilton County is the first school district in the state of Tennessee and only second in the southeastern region of the U.S. to pass this policy.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Annual State of Childhood Obesity Report, Tennessee ranks among the worst in the nation for the highest rate of obesity among children ages 10 to 17; the elementary-age students do not trail far behind. Roughly 20 percent of kids in Tennessee are obese according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Report. Drinking sufficient amounts of water reduces the likelihood of kids being at an unhealthy weight.
"Water consumption is critical to maintaining a healthy weight and it’s important to refill our body’s water supply every day," said Cathy Jennings, coordinated school health coordinator for Hamilton County Schools. "The daily amount of water a child needs can range from five to eight cups a day and I'm so excited for our students to have convenient as well as increased water access at school."
Water bottle filling stations in schools can nearly triple how much water students drink at lunch time. Drinking water can also positively impact children’s cognitive performance, particularly their short-term memory, said officials.
For more information, visit act.yourethecure.org or visit heart.org/chattanooga.