Jefferson County, CO — The pink water bottle Emmy Adams, a junior at Golden High School, carries around isn’t just a way to stay hydrated. It’s a chance for change.
“I think that by having refillable drink stations, it helps people drink more water so much more because it is so much more accessible and easier to make the right choice in what you’re drinking,” said Adams, president and founder of the school’s environmental club. The club was instrumental in highlighting the need for water filling stations at Golden High School.
Water filling stations are just one way to encourage children and teens to drink more water and less of other drinks, like sugary beverages. Healthy Jeffco and its community coalitions, specifically the School Wellness Coalition and the Jeffco Sips Smart Coalition, are working to increase healthy beverage consumption through education and collaboration. Key partners in this effort include, Centura Health’s St. Anthony Hospital, Jeffco Public Schools and Jefferson County Public Health.
It is estimated that more than half of children in the U.S. don’t drink enough water. A national study published in June 2015 in the American Journal of Public Health found that more than half of American children are dehydrated at any time. Thanks to the generous contribution from St. Anthony Hospital, eight Jefferson County public schools now have water bottle refill stations to help keep youth and staff hydrated. In addition, posters encouraging healthy beverage consumption were distributed throughout the schools.
“Centura Health believes that high-quality health happens in our clinics and in the community,” said Dr. Kimberly Bentrott, a Primary Care Physician with Centura Health Physicians Group. “This project is a great example of health happening in schools, and we are proud to be a partner of this work.”
Golden High School currently has two water filling stations, and thanks to donations from other community partners and the hard work of the environment club, four more are on the way.
“People definitely use it,” said Mike Mendoza, a teacher at Golden High School and the sponsor for the environmental club. “It’s just becoming the new norm.”
Drinking water has become a game for the students at Golden High School. Many of them carry around plastic water bottles and throw them in complicated flips to land on the water filling station sensor pad. Some of them, like Emmy, even regularly check the LED display on the filling station to see how many plastic bottles have been saved. The first week after the stations were installed, Emmy said she checked each hour.
Not only do the water filling stations fulfill the Healthy Jeffco mission to ensure better access and education about healthy beverages, but they also support the Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Health Services goal of maintaining healthy environments. Water filling stations reduce plastic waste from water bottles and other drink containers.
“This planet is such an amazing place that we live in, and there’s just so much to explore and do, and it just makes me realize that you can’t do anything if you don’t have clean air to drink and clean air to breathe,” Adams said, smiling as she explained that her passion for the environment is what makes her want to advocate for sustainable changes, like the refillable drink stations. “My generation are the ones that are really going to have to take action.”
About Jefferson County Public SchoolsJeffco Public Schools has been providing educational excellence for more than 60 years. Approximately 9 percent of all the K-12 students in Colorado attend a Jeffco School. Our mission is to provide a quality education that prepares all children for a successful future. The district has 155 schools on 168 campuses.About St. Anthony HospitalSt. Anthony Hospital is nationally recognized for its renowned programs in trauma, cardiovascular services, oncology, neurosciences and orthopedics. St. Anthony Hospital’s expert team of physicians, nurses and other caregivers provide unparalleled medical care for patients and access to the latest in medical technology. St Anthony Hospital is part of Centura Health, which connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. For more information on the St. Anthony Medical Campus, please visit www.stanthonyhosp.org or follow the hospital via Twitter @stahospital and facebook.com/stahospital.About Jefferson County Public Health Jefferson County Public Health is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships. Public health professionals monitor and diagnose the health concerns of communities and promote policies, practices and behaviors to assure our populations stay healthy. The Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network is comprised of over 225 community partners working collectively to address health equity while increasing physical activity, healthy eating, and psychosocial well-being among low-income families with children ages 0-18.
For more information, please contact Pamela Gould, Jefferson County Public Health’s Health Planner and Coordinator of the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network at 303-275-7526 or [email protected].