The Delta Dental Foundation
will distribute a total of $100,000 to schools in Michigan that are selected for the foundation's Rethink Your Drink: Water's Cool at School program.
The new program wants to ensure that children drink enough water during the school day and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Schools can apply to the Delta Dental Foundation, and if selected, will have one or more of their older drinking fountains replaced with Elkay water fountain/bottle filling stations. The foundation will also supply reusable water bottles for all students and staff and up to $750 for the school to design and implement their own campaign.
Okemos Public Montessori at Central was the first school in the state to pilot the new program. In the first month of the academic year, the school saw an uptick of water consumption by students, and calculated that about 2,200 empty water bottles were saved from going into a landfill.
"In addition to being healthy and having a bright shiny smile, kids find it appealing to have their own water bottle throughout the day, and not have to spend their money on sugary drinks," says Teri Battaglieri, Delta Dental Foundation director. "Kids can also be directly involved in a campaign for their school, which makes the buy-in better, too."
Battaglieri reports that more than 50 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are not properly hydrated during the school day. That, she says, can affect cognitive functions and energy levels. She added that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages instead of water can lead to tooth decay, obesity and other adverse health effects.
"Tooth decay is the number one most chronic disease in kids, and is five times more common than asthma," Battaglieri says. "Kids miss 51 million hours a year from school due to oral health."
Michigan schools interested in applying to the "Rethink Your Drink Campaign" should submit their application to the Delta Dental Foundation by Dec. 1, 2016. For an application and more information, click here.
Source: Teri Battaglieri, Director, Communications, Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy, Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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