Want a free water-bottle filling station?
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The Iowa Department of Education along with a host of public-private partnerships want students this year to turn away from sugary drinks and replace them with fluoridated water.
“Rethink Your Drink” is a campaign thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. Qualifying Iowa schools will receive free water bottle filling station installations. Schools that are selected for the “Rethink Your Drink” program will have an old drinking fountain replaced with a new Elkay water fountain/bottle filling station.
In addition, the selected schools will receive reusable water bottles for all students and staff and an opportunity for an additional $500 to design and implement an educational campaign encouraging students to drink more water during the school day.
Despite educational efforts of parents, schools and public health agencies to promote healthy drink choices, more than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day which can impact cognitive function and energy levels. Caffeinated beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks used by children and teenagers have a negative effect on their oral health and overall health. Drinking optimally fluoridated water from the tap, or water fountain, provides needed hydration and also protects tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to cavities.
“Having a water bottle filling station in school encourages students to refill their personal water bottles and provides a low-cost way for kids to stay hydrated throughout the day,” said Melissa Walker, state school nurse consultant, Iowa Department of Education. “Drinking optimally fluoridated water helps wash away bacteria in the mouth, aids in healthy digestion and helps keeps the brain, muscles and body working properly.”
All Iowa schools are welcome to apply for the “Rethink Your Drink” program. Schools can apply by visiting www.deltadentalia.com/H2O and submitting their application by Sept. 22. Priority will be given to:
- Communities with optimally fluoridated water,
- Schools that have the highest rates of free and reduced price lunch, and
- Schools that do not already have a water bottle filling station installed in their building.
The program, “Rethink Your Drink” is funded by Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation and supported by the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Iowa Public Health Association, and Balfrey & Johnston, Inc.