Water Jets in School Cafeterias

A Good Idea


Launched in 2007 in an effort to curb childhood obesity, this New York City school-based intervention increases access to drinking water at lunchtime in school cafeterias. Previously, drinking water was not readily available in the lunchroom and children had a choice of either 1%, skim, or chocolate milk. By offering water in electrically-cooled water jets (large, clear plastic jugs with a push lever for fast dispensing), children were allowed to choose water as a calorie-free beverage in the lunch line. The hope is that by offering water at lunch at school, children will learn to think of water when they are thirsty or at mealtimes, reducing the amount of calories they consume through beverages.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the program is to improve access to fresh drinking water as a calorie-free beverage option in select NYC school cafeterias at lunchtime.

Results / Accomplishments

As of 2007, five schools received water jets in their cafeteria lunch lines. To date the program has not been fully evaluated, but early results suggest that up to 90% of students use the water jets during lunch. The student's meals still meet the USDA three component standard required for federal reimbursement of food costs. Also, cafeteria staff report no problems with the equipment.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Dillard Campbell
Director of Recruitment & Equipment Services
Office of School Support Services
44-36 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101
Health / Children's Health
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Education / School Environment
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Department of Education
California Food Policy Advocates
Date of implementation
Geographic Type
New York
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Families