Oral Health Kansas believes in the mission of making every child’s potential a reality, and students who drink water do better in school. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and teenagers be taught to pick water as their first drink of choice. According to the CDC, “Drinking water can contribute to good health, and schools are in a unique position to promote healthy, dietary behaviors, including drinking water.” Thirsty for Health accomplishes this goal through engaging and empowering families, communities and schools to advocate for the health of all children.

Water is calorie-free and helps children avoid health problems such as obesity and dental caries when it is chosen over high calorie, sugar-sweetened drinks. This initiative is designed to help schools promote drinking water by making it more accessible, available and desirable to schoolchildren and young adults.

We are currently working on a new evolution to Thirsty for Health! With the support of the American Heart Association, Voices for Healthy Kids, we are partnering with the United School Administrators of Kansas and Community Action, Inc. in Topeka on a project to enact policy change in school districts across Kansas that ensure all newly constructed and renovated school buildings have water bottle filling stations. We will target school districts to ensure the policy makes a difference for students who are often most directly impacted by health disparities, poorly funded school programs, and high levels of junk food marketing.


Access to drinking water helps Kansas kids stay healthy and ready to learn

  • Healthy, active children learn better, perform better academically and behave better.
  • Drinking water can improve children’s fine motor skills and visual attention, which helps with learning activities such as reading.
  • A national survey published in 2015 showed that more than half of school-aged children did not drink enough water.
  • Water access in schools and consumption by students can vary by gender, race and ethnicity of students, socioeconomic status of students’ families and geographic region.

Thirsty for Health intern, Jenna Gorton, interviewed several individuals at Topeka West High School that have water bottle filling stations in their buildings. Here is one interview with Math teacher, Andrew Lake. He discusses the positives he has seen since having water bottle filling stations.

Jenna also wrote a blog about why water was important for her as a student. Read her blog here.

The following organizations have signed on in support of the Thirsty for Health Project:
El Centro of Topeka
Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods
Kansas Action for Children
Shawnee County Health Department
Shawnee County Oral Health Coalition
Topeka Public Schools Parents as Teachers 501
United Way of Topeka


For more information, please send a message to or call 785.235.6039

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