Healthy Eating Strategy #4: Increase Access to Drinking Water

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Healthy Eating Strategy #4: Increase Access to Drinking Water

Young people benefit from drinking water, especially in place of sugar-added drinks. Schools can affect kids' health through beverage policies that raise awareness and increase the availability of healthier beverages. Providing accessible drinking water has been shown to increase water consumption.


Studies have found that providing accessible drinking water increases water consumption dramatically at schools, especially when water containers are also available. Campaigns to promote the health benefits of water positively have influenced awareness and consumption. In addition, changes in school beverage policies have increased the availability and consumption of healthier beverages. Increased concentration and better performance at sports have also been reported with water consumption. Water consumption is also associated with reduced overweight.


  1. Chandran, K. (2009). Improving water consumption in schools: Challenges, promising practices, and next steps. California Food Policy Advocates.
  2. Loughridge, J.L., & Barratt, J. (2005). Does the provision of cooled filtered water in secondary school cafeterias increase water drinking and decrease the purchase of soft drinks? The British Dietetic Association Ltd, 18, 281–286.
  3. Muckelbauer, R., Libuda, L., Clausen, K., Toschke, A.M., Reinehr, T., & Kersting, M. (2009). Promotion and provision of drinking water in schools for overweight prevention: Randomized, controlled cluster trial. Pediatrics, 123(4), e661–e667.
  4. Patel, A., & Cabana, M. (2010). Encouraging healthy beverage intake in child care and school settings, Current Opinion in Pediatrics. Dec;22(6):779–84.
  5. Ritenbaugh, C., Teufel-Shone, N.I., Aickin, M.G., Joe, J.R., Poirier, S., Dillingham, D.C., Johnson, D., Henning, S., Cole, S.M., & Cockerham, D. (2003). A lifestyle intervention improves plasma insulin levels among Native American high school youth. Preventive Medicine, 36 (3), 309–319.

Find Your Y

Share This Page

Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2017 YMCA of the USA. All rights reserved.
The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.