Using Environmental Surveillance to Increase Access to Water in Schools
Methods: As part of a larger food environment surveillance study, trained research assistants conducted a lunch period observations in 2012 in K-8 schools of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which serves over 38,000 students. They recorded any form unsweetened water available free-of-charge in the dining or serving areas, including water fountains, pitchers, bottles, dispenser, or some other way.
Results: Of the 67 K-8 schools observed, 37 (55%) had water available at no cost during lunch. Of those, 35 had water fountains in the dining area, and 2 had water dispensers. These data were presented to the Healthy Cleveland Nutrition Committee, a multi-sector partnership organized by the Cleveland Department of Public Health. In response, the Committee adopted ‘water access in schools’ as a priority for nutrition-related policy-level interventions in both schools and other venues where children spend time (e.g., recreation centers). Additionally, the Committee prioritized indicators of water access for future surveillance to examine the impact of water access policies on school buildings and recreation centers.
Discussion: Environmental surveillance can be used to both foster and evaluate policy that can promote good nutrition and reduce obesity trends.
Learning Areas:Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Explain how to use surveillance data to inform and monitor policies to promote access to drinking water in schools. Discuss how data in-hand can be used to identify additional surveillance data needs
Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, School-Based Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the PI or Co-I on multiple grants focusing on the development of behavioral or environmental surveillance tools, collection of data, and subsequent reporting of data to invested stakeholders. Among my interests has been the use of data to inform and monitor policies adopted by local communities and organizations to improve health equity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.