Lack of drinking fountains in parks makes kids buy fizzy drinks

| 4th June 2010
Drinking fountain

The lack of drinking fountains is giving little incentive to children to reduce their intake of sugary soft drinks

Children may be more likely to turn to sugary drinks and ice-creams because of a lack of working water fountains in public parks in the UK, says campaign group

Only 11 per cent of public parks in the UK have a water fountain, according to a survey published this week, which is pushing children towards unhealthy sugary drinks.

The survey of 127 parks across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - roughly 3 per cent of the 5,000 parks in UK - found that just 6 per cent had every water fountain working. Of those without any water fountain, only 14 per cent had somewhere else in the park to get free drinking water, such as a café offering tap water.

The Children's Food Campaign, which organised the survey, said drinking water in parks and other public spaces enabled children to quench their thirst without having to purchase sugary drinks, regular consumption of which is linked to tooth decay and childhood obesity.

No incentive

Dr Vivienne Nathanson from the British Medical Association (BMA) said children were being provided with little incentive to reduce their intake of sugary soft drinks.

'At a time when we are fighting an obesity crisis in the UK, it is essential children readily have access to free, safe drinking water in schools and public parks,' she said.

The Consumer Council for Water said with more than £85 billion invested in the water system since privatisation it should be easy to provide drinking water access in public places as well as homes.

The Children's Food Campaign is recommending local councils fix and install fountains in more parks as well as providing signs to point out existing ones.

'Drinking fountains are a cheap and easy way of improving public health. It’s not rocket science - the Victorians were way ahead of us on this issue,' said campaign coordinator Christine Haigh.

Useful links

Consumer Council for Water

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