New study describes the connection between perceived tap water security in schools and water consumption by source

Jul 27, 2022

In a new cross-sectional study from the Academic Pediatrics journal, researchers investigated the impact of negative water security experiences on the preferred water sources and water intake of San Francisco Bay Area students at low-income public schools. A water security experience was considered negative if a student believed the water to be unsafe, contaminated, or taste bad. Researchers found that students who reported having some or multiple negative water security experiences at school—74.5% of the sample—were more likely to drink from sinks and tap water dispensers, and less likely to drink from water fountains than those with no negative experiences. Students with negative experiences also drank less water overall, something that can lead to higher consumption of sweetened beverages and associated health issues. The study suggests that interventions that introduce tap water safety education and increase access to preferred water sources may be useful in raising water intake in schools. The team was led by Anisha Patel, Jeffery Ezennia, and Lauren Blacker from Stanford University, Laura Schmidt and Charles McCulloch from UC San Francisco, and Lorrene Ritchie from the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute award R01HL129288 and supplement 3R01HL129288-05S1.

By Cate Seel
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist