More drinking fountains in Wellington could tackle childhood obesity

  • 20/10/2017
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Only six percent of Wellington City children's playgrounds have drinking fountains, and more are needed, according to a new study.

Having more drinking fountains would lead kids to drink water rather than sugary drinks, which is a factor in New Zealand's obesity problem, says researcher Professor Nick Wilson.

The University of Otago, Wellington, study looked at all 47 of the publicly accessible Wellington City Council drinking fountains, and found problems such as discolouration from algae or metal degradation in almost half of them.

"For example, the large suburb of Karori, which has many parks, has only one drinking fountain in a park. The only other two public fountains in all of Karori were near a shopping centre and in a cemetery," Prof Wilson said.

"As sugary drinks are often very cheap and are marketed at children we need alternatives such as good access to well-designed and maintained drinking fountains in public places.

"But it is also important to address quality issues, as people are likely to be put off drinking fountains with algae growth near the nozzle," he said.

Meanwhile, positive findings from the study included that all of the nozzles delivered water, and almost half had taps for filling bottles and seven fountains had bowls for dogs to have a drink.