School receives new water system to promote staying healthy and cool

The Delta Dental Foundation and MESSA were behind the installation of the system, along with a bottle filling station at Northeast Elementary in Jackson. (Source WILX)
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JACKSON, MI. (WILX) -- An elementary school in Jackson received a new water filtration system to promote that water is cool at school.

The Delta Dental Foundation and MESSA were behind the installation of the system, along with a bottle filling station at Northeast Elementary in Jackson.

“We are thrilled to have this investment from the Delta Dental Foundation and MESSA to help the oral and overall health of our students and staff,” said Principal Erik Weatherwax of Northeast Elementary. “The water filtration and bottle system is a quick and easy way for our students and entire school community to stay hydrated – and provides an easy way to choose to drink water instead of reaching for sugary drinks.”

The program, Rethink Your Drink: Water's Cool at School, is an initiative to reduce students drinking sugary beverages. The program is also promoting that drinking water is healthy and good for you and your brain.

“MESSA is committed to supporting education employees as they look to improve their own health while modeling good examples for their students,” said Ross Wilson, executive director of MESSA. “That means educating staff and students across Michigan about the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages like pop, juice, fruit drinks, sweetened teas and coffee, sports and energy drinks, and more.”

The program plans to replace water fountains in 88 schools across the state.

They have also provided more than 51,000 reusable water bottles to the schools to make it easier to use the filling stations and to reduce plastic waste.

Lisa Rando, a teacher at Northeast Elementary applied for the grant. She hopes that this campaign encourages students to choose water over its sugary alternatives.

“We know that drinking water is one of the easiest ways to promote the health of our students, both inside the classroom and out,” said Rando. "With this donation from MESSA and the Delta Dental Foundation, we are making that choice even easier and helping our students build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says, access to safe, free drinking water helps to increase students’ overall water consumption, maintain hydration and reduce energy intake, if substituted for sugar-sweetened beverages.

“The Delta Dental Foundation is proud of our partnerships with MESSA, Northeast Elementary and schools across the state of Michigan to provide increased access to water filtration and bottle filling stations,” said Kim Garland of the Delta Dental Foundation. “We are committed to helping to build healthy, smart, and vibrant communities, and setting students up to build healthy habits and make healthy choices is an important part of that.”

The CDC added that adequate hydration may also improve cognitive function among children and adolescents, which is important for learning. Also, if the drinking water has fluoride it also plays a role in good oral health and preventing cavities.

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