The Thirsty? Choose Water! research program is the first of its kind in Australia and was developed and led by Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) from NSW Health.

The research saw CCLHD work in partnership with four other NSW local health districts and 85 schools adopting a whole-school approach to promote water as the drink of choice.

This involved activities in the classroom, installation of chilled water stations on site and promotions both within the school and to the wider community, including parents/carers.

These strategies were found to increase water consumption amongst students and encourage replacement of sugary beverages. Read more about these results below.

Thirsty? Choose Water! was initially funded by NSW Health’s Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS) to work with schools across three health districts – Central Coast, Illawarra Shoalhaven and South West Sydney. Following completion of research in these areas, the program was extended to work with schools within a further two NSW health districts – Mid North Coast and Hunter New England. This second phase of research was supported by the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as part of its Rapid Applied Research Translation Program.

What's next?

Our research tells us that the combination of curriculum resources, installation of chilled water stations at school and promotion of water to students and their families works when it comes to encouraging adolescents to choose water over sugary beverages.

That’s why we have made many of the resources developed as part of the research available on this website for teachers, students, parents and carers. We have also developed additional resources to highlight the benefits of choosing water over sugary drinks.

This campaign is also designed to assist schools, parents and carers, and students to fundraise for the installation of chilled water stations in their school.

Following the positive results in secondary schools, we are now working with Central Coast primary schools to develop a Thirsty? Choose Water! program for primary schools.

In 2017, the NSW Chief Health Officer published a report stating...

Nearly half (45.4%) of children aged 5–15 years regularly drink sweetened drinks.

Children aged 12–15 years are more likely to drink sweetened drinks regularly (60.3%) compared with children aged 5–11 years (36.4%).

Boys (53.2%) are more likely than girls (36.9%) to drink sweetened drinks regularly.

Read the full report here.

To create positive changes, Thirsty? Choose Water! uses evidence-based strategies involving curriculum activities, supportive school environments and engages the whole school community to encourage students to choose water.

All Thirsty? Choose Water! content and materials are designed to provide general information only and are not intended as medical advice. For individually-tailored advice, consult your doctor or health professional.