Water Consumption Among County Youth - Our Children Drink Water
Over the past six months, the HEAL Initiative has strategically targeted its health promotion and disease prevention activities with a particular focus on drinking water in specific communities. We recognize that all of our residents, including kids, have definite ideas and thoughts about health and wellness. We also understand that healthy behaviors adopted in childhood most often continue throughout life.
In 2014, the creators of Caillou joined forces with the Prince George's County Health Department to promote drinking water among county youth.
We have participated in 31 events this summer alone and distributed more than 75 cases of water to children and adults. That’s over 775 gallons of water! During the water distribution events, we have shared with kids the importance of drinking water and the healthy benefits of drinking more water. We have asked them to provide feedback on their water drinking preferences and habits, as well as their preference as related to specific labels and themes on water bottles that we distributed. We are pleased with the enthusiasm and zeal of the children in providing us with feedback.
While 88 percent of the survey respondents were above the age of 12, we have collected a considerable number of surveys from kids ages 12 and under. Their perspectives of drinking water were both informed and informative. Our data show that most kids drink water (96%), as compared to a small few (4%) who responded that they do not drink water. The circumstances around water consumption habits vary greatly. Most kids, 12 years old and younger, drink water when they exercise (19%), and a similar number of kids (18%) drink water when they are being healthy. Kids also seem to have a preference for flavored water (13%), as compared to sparkling (6.0%) water. An overwhelming majority of kids like bottled water (77%) more than tap (11%).
Interestingly, kids regularly drink water when they have few choices (16%), and children drink water when it is given to them by others (12%). Assumingly, those “others” include parents because most (31%) kids drink water at home. A significant number of kids also report that they drink water when traveling (26 %) or when they attend sporting events (19 %).
While very few kids report that they do not drink water, it seems that too few drink enough water. Almost half of the kids responding to the survey (42%) report that they drink less than 8 ounces of water each day. On a more positive note, a substantial number of kids (69%) eat more than one piece of fruit each day and more than one vegetable serving (70%) each day.
While we want to see more kids (and adults) drink more water, we can see that the kids in Prince George’s County are on the right track.