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Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Environmental Public Health | Maternal and Child Health | Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene | Pediatrics | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion
No public health data exists on elementary teachers’ perceptions of both their own fluid intake and of their elementary school aged children’s fluid intake. A total of 271 (20 males, 251 females) teachers in developed areas of Australia, Belgium, England, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America completed an online questionnaire (Feb–Mar 2019) on: (i) their fluid intake, (ii) their perception and understanding of children’s fluid intake and (iii) barriers in the school day that they felt prevented school children consuming fluids. Overall, the data indicated that teachers consume considerably lower amounts than recommended themselves, but have a good awareness of children’s fluid intake and estimate children drink approximately half (1 litre (34% n = 93)) of what is recommended per day. The results were also similar to those reported by children previously. Yet, the data highlighted a lack of active encouragement of drinking water throughout the school day by teachers, with only 11% (n = 29) suggesting they actively encourage children to drink and 45% (n = 123) reporting no active encouragement at all. It is recommended as a public health measure that all school children consume an extra cup of water during lunch times in those schools where water intake was recognized as sub optimal. Furthermore, depending on weather conditions, a cup of water before, during and after Physical Education lessons should be encouraged by teachers. Water coolers or bottles may be used as a supplementary resource, provided that hygiene is maintained. From an educational perspective, more professional development needs to be provided to teachers on the importance of regular water consumption, and more time dedicated across the elementary curriculum to educational understanding of fluid consumption.
Howells, K. & Coppinger, T., 2020. Teachers’ Perceptions and Understanding of Children’s Fluid Intake. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(11), p.4050. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114050.
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