Madison schools push for kids to drink more water amid national research about sugary drinks

6 schools installing hydration stations this week
Madison schools push for kids to drink more water amid national research about sugary drinks

Six Madison schools will add hydration stations, where students can fill up their water bottles more easily, as part of the “Got Water?” project.

Tammy Thompson Kapp, principal of Lapham Elementary School, said her school applied for the grant the past two years but didn’t get it until this year.

“It’s been three years waiting to get the hydration station, so we are really excited to have this available for our students,” she said.

Lapham had its hydration station installed Monday and the kids celebrated outside. The students also get their own personal reusable water bottles, which they practiced filling up at Madison Water Utility’s Water Wagon during the celebration.

After this school year, 16 elementary schools in Madison and three middle schools will have water bottle refilling stations because of the program.

May 6-12 has been declared National Drinking Water Week, an awareness week meant to highlight the value of safe, reliable drinking water.

The goal of these events is to promote healthy habits through the 5-2-1-0 message, meaning every day kids should eat 5 fruits and vegetables, watch 2 hours or fewer of screen time, get 1 hour of physical activity and drink zero sugary beverages.

A national study was released this week showing that as national campaigns are pushing children to drink less soda, they’re instead drinking more sports drinks, like Gatorade, that are high in sugar.

“Typically, our kids don’t have access to (sugary drinks) during the school day, but I think even juice is high in sugar,” Thompson Kapp said. “Between the milk option that they have for breakfast and lunch, this (water) gives them another healthy option throughout the day as well.”

During the “Got Water” celebrations at school, the kids also get to learn where Madison’s water comes from and why it’s important to stay hydrated.

“We live in an area where we’ve got lots of bicyclists and active people, and I think having access to it is healthy for kids and gives them a reason to make healthy choices and provides that accessibility to them,” Thompson Kapp said.

This year, Kennedy Elementary, Muir Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Lapham Elementary, Lowell Elementary and Cherokee Heights Middle schools will get hydration stations installed.

In 2017, Orchard Ridge Elementary, Falk Elementary, Schenk Elementary, Gompers Elementary, Glendale Elementary, Wright Middle and Sherman Middle schools had them installed. Allis Elementary, Lindbergh Elementary and Lake View Elementary schools had them installed the year before. In 2015, Huegel Elementary, Leopold Elementary and Elvehjem Elementary schools had them installed.