Is drinking water a middle-class fashion?

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The Schools Health Education Unit is drawing people's attention to some research recently published in the journal ‘Education and Health’ vol.22(2),28-31, 2004. The increasing number of school initiatives, to make water more accessible, are raising issues about whether drinking is a middle-class fashion. Some of the findings are reported below.

Is drinking water a middle-class fashion?

Students in primary and secondary schools who drank more water are:

  • more likely to have played a musical instrument ‘last night’
  • more likely too have read a book for pleasure ‘last night’
  • more likely to play tennis
  • more likely to wear a hat to protect against the effects of the sun
  • more likely to be more worried about global concerns like wars and terrorism
  • more likely to read a broadsheet newspaper at home

School students that drink more water are also:

  • more likely to be diet-conscious
  • more likely to take more exercise
  • more likely to be diligent about their school work
  • more likely to have better attitudes to school attendance

There seems to be little argument against the idea of increasing access for pupils to water during the school day, but there is still too little hard evidence, other than the countless anecdotal stories of how pupils have more energy, how they concentrate better and are much calmer in class.

The Schools Health Education Unit have used their current ‘water data’ and looked at the correlation between water consumption and other general health behaviours.  The Unit took the figures from their new water questions (sample of over 5600 pupils) and looked for connections in their unique primary and secondary databanks for the most recent UK surveys.

To see the data and further information visit www.sheu.org.uk/water

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