Healthy Families Waitakere have been working alongside all twelve of our secondary schools to drive sustainable changes in each school through the leadership of staff and students. One high school, Kelston Girls College have taken the first steps to making long term change by promoting water as the first choice during class and while being active.
School Nurse Pat Hutchinson was successful in negotiating a change with their vending machine provider Sanitarium, to increase the amount water in the machines. They have agreed to limit the number of other drinks to only one row. Prior to the change, most drinks available contained sugar.
“We encourage our girls to drink water at school primarily to keep hydrated, reduce headaches and improve concentration” says Pat.
Athletics Day and School Cross Country events in 2018 are also being used as an opportunity to promote water. Sport Activator Jamie Lane believes sport has a role in not only promoting regular forms of physical activity but can be used as a vehicle to promote positive health messages.
Jamie has been proactive in supporting the student committee to consider ways to promote water before, and during the Athletics Day and School Cross Country events.
"Senior management and staff are supporting the promotion of drinking water and other student-led health and wellness initiatives that will hopefully grow year to year and allow the students to feel good about themselves long term", he says.
In addition to sporting events, water has also been included in the curriculum with Year 9 and 10 students exploring water as a topic during enquiry week in Term 4, 2017. Students learnt about water sustainability, water systems and the benefits of drinking water.
This fantastic example of leadership at Kelston Girls College is just the beginning. Their efforts to create a healthier school environment where water is the easiest choice is all part of a movement happening across Waitakere where community champions, organisations and sports clubs are choosing water as the best and first choice of drink. This is a further step to eliminating excess sugary drink consumption in young people.
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Image: School Nurse Pat Hutchinson and Sport Activator Jamie Lane with their newly stocked vending machine