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October 24, 2012
Posted by: Alliance for a Healthier Generation
When Guido Dominguez graduated from elementary school to Nautilus Middle School last year, he immediately noticed two things: a decrease of physical education and a lack of drinking water. Guido, a member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Youth Advisory Board said, "Chocolate milk was my usual lunchtime drink of choice, but one day I wanted water instead." He was told that milk was included as part of his reimbursable meal, but he would have to pay 25 cents for a small bag of water or pay for bottled water at the vending machine.
"I didn't understand why milk was free, but not water. So I did some research and found out only 15 percent of middle school students drink enough water1. I emailed our District 3 Food and Nutrition Department, and a week later we were able to choose water instead of milk. It was a small change with a big impact."
Guido, who lives in Miami, Florida, says he sees more of his friends drinking water now, but feels there is more to be done. The bags of water are small and only one is provided with the school lunch. If you want more water, you have to get back in the food line and purchase another one. But, as Guido says, "It's easier and faster to go to the vending machine, but then it's tempting to choose a different, less healthy option for the same price. It would be better to have accessible water dispensers to encourage unlimited refills. There are drinking fountains available throughout the rest of the school, but not in the cafeteria."
1Hudson, William (2011, April 18). For children, where's the water? CNN.com. Retrieved January 5, 2012
* "Dehydration," The Mayo Clinic
* "A small change with a big impact" image courtesy of Alliance for a Healthier Generation