Helping Richmond students stay hydrated, healthy and learning
September 28, 2021
Healthy Lifestyles Center helps Richmond students stay hydrated and healthy

    Helping Richmond students stay hydrated, healthy and learning

    With kids back in the classroom for the new school year, the focus is on keeping them healthy while they learn. One important way to help is making sure they drink enough water.

    Our Healthy Lifestyles Center teamed up with Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, American Heart Association and Greater Richmond Fit4Kids to support a new Richmond Public Schools hydration initiative for the 2021-22 school year – Healthy Hydration @ RPS.

    Water helps fuel healthy learners

    “Adequate water intake plays an important role in children's overall health, cognitive performance, fine motor skills and visual attention, as well as maintaining a healthy weight,” said Dr. Melanie Bean, co-director of the Healthy Lifestyles Center. “RPS’s focus on healthy hydration shows their commitment to fostering the overall health of their students. Our hope is that promoting ready access to water – both inside and outside the classroom – will also encourage reduced consumption of sugary beverages, which contribute to excessive calorie intake and can lead to health concerns such as type 2 diabetes, overweight, obesity and cavities.”

    Sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea and sports drinks can also make it difficult to focus and sleep. Water hydrates and energizes with no sugar-highs or empty calories.

    For these reasons, CHoR and our Healthy Lifestyles Center donated 23,000 reusable water bottles as part of this program for RPS to distribute to students in preschool through grade 12.

    “We know water can improve students’ ability to think and focus – and help them feel more energized!  That’s why we’ve been so pleased to increase the number of hydration stations in RPS schools and work with community partners like the Healthy Lifestyles Center to provide water bottles to all our students this year,” said Michelle Hudacsko, chief of staff for RPS.

    Most kids and teens should drink 9-10 cups of water a day. This equates to about four fills of their new water bottles, which can be done at home or one of the refill stations throughout the schools.

    Mix it up to make drinking water fun

    When filling your cup or bottle at home, consider some fresh and fun ways to add flavor to your water while keeping it low in calories. Mix and match with combinations like lemon/lime, strawberry/watermelon, apple/cinnamon or cucumber/mint. Find more interesting ideas at

    Promoting a safe and healthy school year

    This isn’t the only way we’ve partnered with RPS to help prepare for a safe and healthy school year! Our doctors participated in virtual sessions for RPS team members and families throughout the summer to share the latest information about COVID-19 and important safety protocols, including the vaccine.

    Find more articles about back to school and other news, knowledge and healthy fun for families.

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