Drinking water when serving lunch at school could prevent over half a million young Americans to become overweight or obese.
A study was conducted between 2009 and 2013 in 1,200 elementary and middle schools in New York City. They placed water dispensers in the cafeterias and the water consumption tripled. This led to a decline in the risk of children being overweight one year later.
Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of the US State
After kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An (University of Illinois) and his co-authors, analyzed the costs and benefits in long term effects, they reached the conclusion that if this program would exist in the entire US, it would cost $18 for 12 years per student, but it will benefit the society $174 across that person’s whole life, as it would decrease costs from medical issues caused by obesity and it will increase that person productivity.
Professor An explained that the intake of saturated fat and sugar is decreased when people increase the water intake.
Reducing Obesity Risk by Adding Taxes to Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Other researchers have found out that by adding a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, the cases of obesity in children would be prevented by about 600,000 cases. There are also other suggestions, such as enforcing nutrition standards for schools that are considered non-meals and for beverages to prevent 340,000 other cases of obesity in children.
The study professor An and his co-authors conducted shows us that a low cost intervention can prevent overweight and obesity risks in developing countries.
More information can be found in the study that was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, under the title: ‘Projecting the impact of a nationwide school plain water access intervention on childhood obesity: A cost-benefit analysis’. It was written by Hong Xue and Youfa Wang (Ball State University), Liang Wang (East Tennessee State University) and Ruopeng An (University of Illinois), and was funded by the National Institutes of Health.