Like IBWA, NDWA has been advocating for the USDA to add a symbol for water to the MyPlate nutrition guide.
Drinking Water Promotion: “Water: First for Thirst” Myriad efforts are underway across the United States to promote water consumption. NDWA wants young families to know that, once infants are ready for the introduction of complementary foods, water is the best choice for a secondary beverage after breast milk or infant formula. With expert panels working to develop recommendations for infant nutrition and feeding practices (and the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans revision expected to expand to include infants and toddlers, from birth to age 2), it is timely to begin to educate and promote healthy hydration from the early years. The New York City Department of Health just released a series of videos that capture, in children’s own words, why they drink water. In a collaboration between researchers and film-makers, the University of California, San Francisco, developed short videos in English and Spanish entitled “Share the Love, Share the Water.” In addition, First 5 Santa Clara, out of California, has created “Potter the Otter,” a popular character used in child-care facilities and schools to teach and remind children to drink water. Potter the Otter demonstrates healthy behaviors and serves as a visual reminder for young children
to drink water. Potter the Otter and other such visual cues will be even more important by October 1, 2017, when child-care sites operating on CACFP will be required not only to make water available throughout the day (the current requirement) but also actively to offer it to children regularly, preferably with a visual cue at the same time.
4,000 sticky pads have been distributed by WIC clinics, child-care sites, the American Federation of Teachers, educators, researchers, and advocates, letting nutrition educators across the country add their own symbol for water to the MyPlate graphic. These and other promotional resources are available at www. drinkingwateralliance.org/education.
Those efforts, and many other community campaigns, are promoting water as the best replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages.
NDWA looks forward to continuing to work with IBWA to advocate for a symbol for water on MyPlate!
IBWA and NDWA: A Great Team
Christina Hecht, PhD, is a senior policy advisor at the University of California Nutrition Policy Institute (npi. ucanr.edu), which formed the National Drinking Water Alliance in 2015 (www.drinkingwateralliance.org). Her primary focus area is healthy beverages, particularly drinking water, the healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages. She studies drinking water access and consumption, particularly in children, and works with colleagues across the country to promote and advocate for drinking water access and to reduce disparity in access to and consumption of healthy beverages.
Researchers and public health advocates across the country, together with IBWA, have been advocating for the USDA to take the necessary steps to add a symbol for water to the MyPlate nutrition graphic. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans stressed the importance of reducing consumption of added sugars and suggested that water was an ideal replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet, and NDWA and IBWA believe the nation’s most ubiquitous nutrition guidance should reflect that. As part of the campaign, NDWA developed a graphic (top-left of page) to print on sticky pads. To date, approximately