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Drinking Water in a School Setting. Rachel Clements. The Challenge. Obesity amongst children is on the increase Estimated that 8.5% of 6 yr olds and 15% of 15 yr old children are obese 9/10 children are taking food to school that contains too much sugar, salt and saturated fat.

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Drinking Water in a School Setting

Rachel Clements

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The Challenge

  • Obesity amongst children is on the increase

  • Estimated that 8.5% of 6 yr olds and 15% of 15 yr old children are obese

  • 9/10 children are taking food to school that contains too much sugar, salt and saturated fat.

  • When we are thirsty mental performance deteriorates by 10%

  • In an typical week 1 in 5 children eat no fruit

  • 58% of children would like to be taught to cook at school

  • Over 90% of children said they would like healthier meals at school

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Bigger Picture

  • White Paper on improving health

  • PSA Target on Obesity

  • Healthy Living Blueprint

  • Healthy Schools Programme

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Bigger Picture

  • Public Health - a priority for NHS and government

  • NHS Improvement Plan - June 2004

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White Paper on improving health

  • Published in autumn

  • Informed by consultation

  • Policy direction for future work to tackle obesity - including action in schools

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A Public Commitment

“ to reduce the year on year rise in the prevalence of obesity in children under 11 by 2010, in the context of a broader strategy to reduce obesity in the population as a whole”

July - PSA target for obesity

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A Public Commitment

  • Jointly owned by the DH, DCMS and DfES

  • Prevention best approach – improving diet and physical activity

  • Schools are a key setting

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Healthy Living Blueprint

  • Published 6 September.

  • Joint DH, DfES, FSA, DCMS and DEFRA

  • Sets out Gov’t vision - that all schools are healthy schools, and supports schools in achieving this

  • Web portal points schools to information, advice, guidance and sources of help


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Healthy Living Blueprint

‘All pupils should have access to drinking water

at all times at a number of points around the

school, preferably no from taps in the toilets.

Pupils should be permitted to carry water with

them and consumption encouraged both in

class and during break and lunch time’.

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Healthy Schools Programme

  • Central to Healthy Living Blueprint

  • Jointly funded by DH/DfES

  • Involves eight strands - inc healthy eating, physical activity and

  • National evaluation

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Healthy Schools Programme

Quote from a headteacher on the National College for School

Leadership recent 'hotseat conversation' (September 2004):

Is the healthy school initiative a way forward to combating

obesity? Our school gained the healthy school award this year. As

a result, we have water, fresh fruits and delicious carrots and

tomatoes available for all our children in the infants and drinking

water on demand in our juniors all day long. The difference it has

made to the children's choice of eating habits is profound.

Children from poor families benefit the most; they are being

introduced to a variety of fruits [that are well outside their parents'

budgets] – this is empowering our school to have future influence

in children's eating habits. In my opinion this is a positive start to

addressing the problems of obesity as well as extending the

school curriculum on health education.

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Food in Schools Programme

  • Joint DH/DfES programme

  • Support healthy eating strand of the Healthy Schools Programme

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Food in Schools Programme

  • DfES strand involves 8 projects

    – curriculum focussed

  • DH strand involves 8 projects

    - follow child throughout school day

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Healthier Vending Machines

Healthier Tuck Shops

Healthier Breakfast Clubs

Water Provision

Dining Room Environment



Healthier Lunch Boxes

Cookery Clubs

Department of Health Strand

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Why Water Provision?

  • Health benefits

  • Many other benefits for schools

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Best Practice


Literature Review

National &



Needs Assessment


& Evaluation


Outputs & Dissemination

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Best Practice

  • Recommendation for children

  • Current consumption

  • Current situation

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Needs Assessment

  • 40 schools – North West and East Midlands

  • Involved teachers, pupils, partner organisations etc

  • Findings

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  • Pilot approaches

  • Resources to support…

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Evaluation Aims

  • Assess the success of the pilot in increasing water consumption

  • Identify main barriers to increased consumption, and how these can be surmounted

  • Provide recommendations on the opportunities to develop sustainable and transferable models and approaches that will allow other schools to benefit from the learnings

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  • Findings

  • Key elements to effective strategies

  • The impact

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‘If you don’t drink water than your brain

gets thirsty’ (female pupil year 4)

‘The water is cold and encourages pupils

to drink it’ (Headteacher)

‘It’s a great idea. You can get it when you

want and the teachers are OK about you

drinking in class’ (female pupil, year 4)

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Pilots complete

Developing outputs

Dissemination early 2005

Status & Outputs

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What next?

  • How can the good work underway be extended?

  • How can you be involved?