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Water with school lunches to prevent obesity

Encouraging children to drink plain water with their school lunches could prevent more than half a million children in the USA from becoming overweight or obese, a new study from the University of Illinois suggests. Not only will the incidence of overweight decrease, but it is thought that with this simple measure, over $13 billion could be saved in various medical and social costs. The findings are based on a nationwide study that involved 1,200 elementary schools between 2009 and 2013.

It is thought that by consuming more water at lunchtime, children are concurrently eating less fat and sugar; further to this the authors suggest that the intervention does not pose any significant nutritional hazards. Interestingly, the school-based water intervention holds potential as a low- or moderate-cost population-level programme in developing countries as well as developed. The authors themselves are hoping that the intervention will be expanded to all public and private schools across the country, so that more data can be gathered and the rewards can be seen sooner rather than later.

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