Philly initiative gets kids drinking water and reduces costs

A man drinking from a reuseable bottle

Hydrate Philly is a joint effort by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation to get Philly kids hydrated. It was established to make public drinking fountains in recreation centers more appealing and accessible, according to a release.

They installed new water fountains with bottle filling stations (hydration stations) at 14 different centers. They also provided children with thousands of reusable water bottles to use at summer camps and after-school programs.

The goal was to get children to drink more water. It was reported that the water obtained at the fountains doubled at equipped summer camps, in comparison to the 14 centers that did not have the “hydration stations.”

A release states that 54 percent of children do not drink enough water.

“Hydrate Philly shows us that water promotion is not just about encouraging people to drink more water. It’s about making sure people have an environment that makes water the easy choice. When we give them that, they drink more water,” Dr. Hannah Lawman, a Health Department researcher and the study’s lead author, said in a release.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Kathryn Ott Lovell added, “We improved recreation centers for our children and communities while promoting health and environmental sustainability.”

The study discovered that the costs of the installations, units, and maintenance were offset after five years by savings. The savings came from reduced plumbing maintenance, compared to older fountains that need repairs more frequently.

The water was also tested for safety to assure participants that the water was of high quality.

News of this comes after Metro reported that Gov. Wolf secured a $1.74 million federal grant for safer water in schools.

Information from this study was published in the journal “Preventing Chronic Disease.”