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Countless children across the country struggle with access to healthy, clean water at school.
Schools that provide their students with water bottle refill stations can significantly improve their health over time. Cities and states throughout the U.S. are doing just that by installing these kinds of fountains in their schools.
Legislators in Arkansas (7.7% Latino), with the help of the American Heart Association (AHA), recently passed a law to require all new schools built in the state to provide a water bottle fountain to their students.
“We know drinking enough water can improve a child’s performance in school, making it easier for them to learn,” said Dave Oberembt, government relations representative for the AHA in Arkansas, in a statement. “Substituting water for sugary drinks can also help keep our kids at a healthy weight.”
The New Water Bottle Fountain Legislation and its Rules
The bill—Act 775—states that all schools built going forward must have water bottle filling stations.
Moreover, schools going through renovations and schools without water bottle fountains will also be installing stations as part of an ongoing effort to provide all students with access to clean and healthy water.
- American Heart Association (AHA)
- Healthy Active Arkansas
- The Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention
- Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
These groups worked with local legislators and advocates to promote awareness about the issue and encourage people into action — which is exactly what happened. This is a clear demonstration of community power, which can boost health equity, where everyone has a fair, just opportunity to live their healthiest.
Most of all, students will have a chance for healthier options, according to North Little Rock State Sen. Jane English.
“This bill is about taking care of our students and giving them the best chance at success,” English said in a statement. “The passage of this legislation shows our support for students by recognizing the importance of adequate water intake and the positive impact it has on children’s cognitive performance, visual attention and fine motor skills.”
Why Water Bottle Fountains are Essential
Classic water fountains aren’t always accessible or safe for kids.
Water Bottle Fountains are filtered water dispensers for easily filling and refilling water bottles.
This gives kids much-needed access to safe drinking water throughout the school day. They help keep kids hydrated while saving families money from buying bottled water. They also help the environment by reducing waste.
In addition to hydration, water bottle filling stations assist in cutting down sugary beverage consumption as well as eliminating plastic waste. This helps promote a healthy weight and a healthy mind, and saves money!
This is why advocacy for these fountains is needed.
Kentucky has a similar law for water bottle fountains in its schools. Now Arkansas joins the list.
“We are thankful that the American Heart Association brought this to our attention,” state Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh of Van Buren said in a statement. “This law promotes healthy living by requiring modern and hygienic water dispensing systems in public schools and ensures that all children across Arkansas have access to the benefits of proper hydration.”
Get a Water Bottle Fountain at Your School
Even without a state law, you can help get a water bottle fountain at your school.
Just like Praxina Guerra. Guerra, a fifth grader at the time, worked together with her teacher, Cathy Lopez, to raise support and raise funds. Together, their school in South San Antonio Independent School District added a water bottle fountain.
“In class we’re always saying make sure you drink water,” said Lopez, who said more students can access water throughout the day.
Want a water bottle filling station at your school?
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