School doors may be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but when classes resume, a new North Little Rock, Arkansas policy could change the way students learn in a big way.

The North Little Rock School Board recently voted to approve the American Heart Association’s water access policy. This policy ensures all students have access to water bottles in the classroom and that all new schools and schools doing major renovations include water bottle filling stations on campuses.

“Some studies also show that drinking enough water may also improve a child’s performance in school because hydration assists with reasoning skills and short-term memory,” said Dave Oberembt, Government Relations Director of the American Heart Association. “It can also help with visual attention and fine motor skills, making it easier for children to learn what they are reading.  What’s more substituting water for sugary drinks can cut up to 235 calories out of a child’s diet and help keep our kids at a heal...

April 17, 2020

On April 9, released an updated timeline for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans process, stating, “One Month Added to Advisory Committee Schedule, Advisory Report to be Submitted by End of June 2020.”

This gives healthy beverage advocates time to provide more comments on the importance of clear and actionable guidance in the 2020 DGAs, in order to help Americans reduce sugary drink consumption and to enable them to drink water instead.

Over 120 comments related to drinking water have been submitted to date. Please use our Take Action page to write and submit your own comment to submit either as an individual or as an organization.

Information from the release follows:

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s schedule has been extended by one month, in consideration of new demands on Committee members’ schedules due to COVID-19. USDA and HHS continue to plan for the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the end of the year...

April 15, 2020

On March 9, 2020, nearly 60 retired admirals and generals who are members of Mission: Readiness submitted comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. These comments focused on the importance of prioritizing water consumption in the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and how promoting healthy options for young people is critical to national security. 

Currently 72 percent of young people in the United States are ineligible to serve in the military. Obesity is among the leading medical disqualifiers, with one in three young people being too overweight or obese to serve. The retired admirals and generals of Mission: Readiness are committed to promoting programs that help young people get off to a healthy start in life, so that they can succeed in the military or at whatever they choose. 

The comments recommend that the Committee specifically highlight the importance of prioritizing water as a beverage of choice as a way to reduce youth consumption of sugar-sweetened...

April 6, 2020

Understanding & Responding to Lead in School Drinking Water

National Healthy Schools Day 2020 falls on April 7th. The National Healthy Schools partnership had planned to focus on “The Air we Breathe, the Water we Drink.” In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership pivoted to encouraging schools and districts to think about ways to take advantage of empty school buildings to perform maintenance tasks. National Healthy Schools Day 2020 also provides an opportunity to advocate for federal attention to health and safety conditions in our nation’s schools. 

For example, in the House, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) and 211 co-sponsors have offered HR 865 – Rebuild America’s Schools Act, while in the Senate, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and 26 co-sponsors offered S.266 – Rebuild America’s Schools Act. Congress could restore or even expand funds to EPA for programs that improve environmental health in school settings and could ensure continued appropriations for programs to test fo...

March 10, 2020

$22.8 Million for Projects in Schools and Childcare Facilities

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 authorized federal funds for lead in drinking water programs. All 50 states submitted Letters of Intent to apply for appropriated WIIN Act financial assistance for programs to detect lead in school and childcare drinking water through sampling and testing of facility tap water.

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has opened a new WIIN Act grant program, “Reduction in Lead Exposure Via Drinking Water.” Congress has authorized $39.9 million in funds to reduce lead through either infrastructure and utility water treatment improvements, or through school and childcare facility remediation. The portion for “Reduction of Children’s Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care Facilities” provides $22.8 million in awards for projects to remove and/or replace lead-containing plumbing parts in school or childcare buildings.


February 26, 2020

Water is a basic human need—something kids cannot live without. Because children spend so much time at school, having fresh, clean water available to them is critical for them to live healthier lives. 

All kids in every school in the United States should have access to water at no cost while they’re on campus. When kids don’t have enough water to drink, their health and cognitive performance, particularly their short-term memory, may suffer. And, when water is not available, children tend to consume more sugary drinks, which are linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

You can learn more about the importance of drinking water in Voices for Healthy Kids Water Access in Schools Fast Facts

Inside this document, you’ll find facts from up-to-date studies and “fast facts” written in consumer-friendly language. Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), has a science...