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Rethink Your Drink encourages healthier choices in local schools

By Jill Feilmeier on September 22, 2022 in Healthy Living

Delta Dental of Iowa’s Rethink Your Drink has provided water bottle filling stations to 394 schools

At Delta Dental of Iowa, we are more than an insurance company. We are committed to improving the health and smiles of the communities we serve. That’s why we reinvest 40% of our dollars back into communities each year through grant funding and wellness programs like Rethink Your Drink.

About Rethink Your Drink

Rethink Your Drink encourages children in schools to drink more water, improving their oral and overall health. Through the program, schools receive a water bottle filling station that makes it easy for students and staff to keep their drinks full and stay hydrated throughout the school day. Since the program began in 2017, more than 394 Iowa schools have received new Elkay water bottle filling stations that have benefitted more than 193,000 students and staff across the state.

In addition to the filling stations, participating schools also receive access to online educational kits that focus on encouraging students to drink more water. The kits include water logs, letters to inform parents about the program, coloring activities, and instructions for a sugar demonstration that shows how much sugar is in the child’s favorite drink.

In addition to schools, seven outdoor water refill stations have been installed in parks and along trails throughout Iowa communities.

Why Rethink Your Drink?

It’s estimated that the average child living in the United States consumes about 17 teaspoons of sugar each day. Many times, this sugar comes from sweetened drinks like soda or juice. A diet filled with sugar negatively impacts the oral and overall health of everyone, but especially kids. Studies have found that when compared to children who consume sugar in moderate levels, children with sugar-heavy diets have worse academic outcomes and are at a higher risk for developing medical problems such as liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes.

Additionally, drinking sugary beverages throughout the day increases the risk of developing oral health problems like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease.

Benefits of drinking water

Drinking water is good for both your oral and overall health. Increasing water intake can provide us with these daily benefits: 

  • maintain good body function
  • keep hair and skin glowing
  • promote digestive health
  • improve memory
  • increase focus and attention
  • prevent unwanted health problems, like weight gain

Drinking water also benefits your smile. Fluoridated water protects your teeth against cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. It keeps your mouth clean and fights against dry mouth. Plus, it’s calorie-free!

How to apply for the Rethink Your Drink program

Starting in January 2023, schools can apply for Rethink Your Drink from Delta Dental of Iowa.

Schools that have already received one Rethink Your Drink grant may now apply for an additional station. Priority will be given to:

  • Schools that have the highest rates of free and reduced-price lunches, and
  • Schools that have one or no water bottle filling stations installed in their building.

Striving to improve the health and smiles of Iowans

Delta Dental of Iowa’s mission is to improve the health and smiles of the people we serve. Through initiatives like the Rethink Your Drink program, we are committed to improving the health of Iowans across the state, one drink of water at a time.

Visit our website for more information about how we are investing in your community and improving lives through community giving programs.

Rethink Your Drink is funded by the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation. Since 2017, the foundation has invested more than $1.7 million in the program to promote wellness through healthy drink choices. The program is supported in partnership by: The Healthiest State Initiative, Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Iowa Public Health Association, Iowa Department of Education, and Central Sales, Inc.