Increase Access to Drinking Water in Schools

Young girl drinking from reusable water bottle

1 in 5 children and adolescents do not drink any plain water during the day, and about half of school-aged children are underhydrated. Learn how to increase water access in schools.

Water is a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. Drinking water improves memory and attention, helps children maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk for some chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and helps prevent dental cavities, if fluoridated. Yet 1 in 5 children and adolescents do not drink any plain water during the day,1 and about half of school-aged children are underhydrated.2

Schools can help kids stay hydrated by promoting water access, changing school wellness policies, and involving community partners, students, and parents. CDC Healthy Schools has developed a series of professional development microlearning modules, with each video lasting less than 5 minutes, for school administrators, teachers, wellness coordinators, and school health committees and teams to learn how to help students drink more water during the day. These modules discuss resources to help schools:

  • Ensure water is safe.
  • Make clean, free drinking water easily available in different areas of the school.
  • Meet free drinking water requirements in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.
  • Promote water as an ideal beverage choice.

Watch the modules today and access other valuable resources focused on increasing water access:

For more resources visit  Water Access in Schools.


  1. Rosinger AY, Bethancourt H, Francis LA. Association of caloric intake from sugar-sweetened beverages with water intake among us children and young adults in the 2011-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(6):602-604. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.0693
  2. Kenney EL, Long MW, Cradock AL, Gortmaker SL. Prevalence of inadequate hydration among US children and disparities by gender and race/ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012. Am J Public Health. 2015;105(8):e113-e118. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302572