Childhood overweight and obesity is a significant health issue. Consuming sugar sweetened beverages contributes to this. Evidence suggests that promoting increased water consumption and provision of chilled water stations reduces sugar sweetened beverage consumption. This study aims to examine this further in the Secondary School setting. Schools who participate will be randomly allocated into one of four groups.
Groups 1 &3 – The Thirsty? Choose Water! Behavioural Intervention
In the curriculum, teaching and learning domain students will receive the intervention through the inclusion of messages in Year 7 Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) lessons and resources available on the Thirsty? Choose Water! website.
The school organisation ethos and environment domain is addressed by messaging through posters, school newsletters, school social media (if applicable) and other opportunities identified locally by schools to engage students and their families (potentially reaching students in other years).
The partnerships and services domain will be addressed through a partnership between schools and local immunisation teams that provide an opportunistic avenue for the Thirsty? Choose Water! messages to be further targeted to Year 7 students, in the post immunisation waiting period.
Groups 2 & 3 – Chilled Water Stations
Schools allocated to Group 3 will receive both the Thirsty? Choose Water! Behavioural Intervention and the chilled water stations.
Group 4 – Control Group
Schools allocated to Group 4 will not receive an intervention, but act as a control group, while still participating in some components of the evaluation.
If the evaluation shows that the interventions are beneficial, these schools will receive a chilled water station on completion of the study.
Where is the research being done?
The study is being coordinated by Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) in collaboration with Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and South West Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD). The study is being conducted in Secondary Schools within these three Local Health Districts. The Chief Investigator coordinating this study across these sites is Niki Kajons, Director Health Promotion and Population Health Improvement, Central Coast LHD. Within the ISLHD, the Associate Investigator is Lisa Franco, Health Promotion Director and within SWSLHD the the Associate Investigator is Mandy Williams, Health Promotion Director. The study is being supported by a research grant from the NSW Ministry of Health for a two year period.
Who can participate in the research?
The research design allows for 60 Secondary Schools to participate. All Public, Catholic and Independent Secondary Schools within CCLHD and ISLHD are invited to participate, with a selected sample from SWSLHD being invited to participate. Schools identified as already having the adequate number of chilled water stations per student population will be excluded from the study. Other than this, the study is suitable for all Secondary Schools in the identified LHDs.