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A new study suggests offering water to students may help reduce childhood obesity, CBS News reports.
In the U.S. over 39% of Latino children are overweight or obese, but researchers at NYU Langone found “that thousands of New York City School children lost weight and lowered their body mass index after self-serve water dispensers were placed in schools.”
“We looked at over a million kids in just over 1,200 schools in grades K-8,” Brian Elbel, study co-author and associate professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center, told CBS. “They ended up being about four or five pounds lighter after the introduction of this intervention as compared to a kid in a school that didn’t get a water jet.”
According to the authors of the study when students have access to water jets sales of chocolate milk and sugary drinks drop significantly.
“Results from this study show an association between a relatively low-cost water availability intervention and decreased student weight. Milk purchases were explored as a potential mechanism,” the researchers wrote in their study.
The study shows that boys in schools with water dispensers were 0.9% slimmer than boys in schools without water jets.
“This study demonstrates that doing something as simple as providing free and readily available water to students may have positive impacts on their overall health, particularly weight management,” Elbel said. “Our findings suggest that this relatively low-cost intervention is, in fact, working.”