CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia lawmakers passed a bill that would give kids easier access to clean water.
Leaders with the American Heart Association say they’re hoping it’ll help make kids healthier too. Senate Bill 246 will give students easier access to clean, fresh water.
“Any new school construction that is a public school in West Virginia or a major renovation will have water bottle filling stations in them,” said Julie Warden, Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.
Student Evan Hickman says drinking water throughout the day at school is already a way of life for him.
“It is hydrating and personally I think it tastes good,” Hickman said. “I play sports and it helps me get through my games.”
Student Baylee Ridgeway said he thinks water bottle filling stations could encourage him and his peers to drink more.
“It is easier than just having to bend down and fill it up and have to do that over and over,” Ridgeway said. “It is just more convenient.”
The American Heart Association is hoping it will be a step toward better health.
“West Virginia leads the nation oftentimes and ranks among the highest consistently in youth obesity rates,” Warden explained. “Anything we can do to make sure we are focused on more water, less sugary beverage consumption is going to help with that excess weight gain.”
She said it could also be a lifeline for students who don’t have access to clean drinking water outside of school.
“They could fill up right before they head out the door and we know they are going to have at least that much water until they get back to school the next day,” Warden said.
According to the American Heart Association, the water bottle filling stations would also reduce exposure to germs that are typically found on traditional water fountains.