Giving school children access to chilled, self-serve water may decrease children’s BMI, a study of more than one million New York City school students suggests.
The study analyzed data collected from 1,227 elementary and middle schools across New York City – some with and some without water jets; the electrically cooled, large clear jugs with a push lever for fast dispensing. The water jets were placed in 483 school cafeterias, about 40 percent of schools during the 2008-2009 and the 2012-2013 school years.
Researchers compared BMI and overweight status for all students before and after the introduction of the water jets into the schools. Findings revealed that schools with water jets showed a (minimal) reduction in standardized body mass index (zBMI) of 0.025 for boys and 0.022 for girls, compared to students at schools without water jets. Adoption of water jets was also associated with a 0.9 percentage point reduction in the likelihood of being overweight for boys and a 0.6 percentage point reduction for girls.