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Keywords:

  • dehydration;
  • secondary schools;
  • soft drinks;
  • water

Abstract

Background  Secondary school students often do not drink sufficient quantities of water during the school day to prevent dehydration, promote learning and good health. The study aimed to measure the effect of health promotion and the free provision of cooled filtered water on the consumption of water and soft drinks. It also aimed to explore students’ views of drinking water provision.

Methods  A study was conducted with three secondary schools in North Tyneside. Over a 3 month period one school was given cooled filtered water and active promotion (W + P), another had water only (W). The control school (C) took part in post-intervention focus group work.

Results  The average volume of water drunk by students, in school ‘W + P’ was greater (P = 0.05) than that drunk in school ‘W’ and control school ‘C’. The volume of soft drinks purchased by students in all three schools before and during the intervention remained static. Focus group data revealed that students viewed their existing water provision as poor and wanted sufficient supplies of cooled filtered water in school.

Conclusions  This pilot study indicates that active promotion of water drinking increased consumption of water by secondary school students. Further developments of the project are suggested.