Directive From The White House: Drink More Water

| September 13, 2013 | 0 Comments
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First lady Michelle Obama participates in an event at Watertown High School to encourage people to drink more water. Photo: Morry Gash/AP

First lady Michelle Obama participates in an event at Watertown High School to encourage people to drink more water. Photo: Morry Gash/AP

Post by Allison Aubrey, The Salt at NPR Food (9/13/13)

Over the years, we’ve done lots of stories about the importance of drinking water to stay hydrated.

It’s such a simple directive. Does it really need repeating?

Well, first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America believe it does. And so does the beverage industry, which has seen a flattening out of demand in the U.S. for its traditional, caloric drinks.

At a time when many kids get way too many calories from sugary sodas and juices, water’s image may need a boost. So it’s getting a new logo: Drink Up.

The Drink Up logo will appear on bottled water, outdoor taps and reusable bottles. Image: Partnership for a Healthier America

The Drink Up logo will appear on bottled water, outdoor taps and reusable bottles. Image: Partnership for a Healthier America

At a high school in Watertown, Wis., the first lady said Thursday that drinking a little more H20 is an easy step to improve your health.

“Drink just one more glass of water a day, and you can make a real difference for your health, your energy and the way you feel,” the first lady said.

The Partnership for a Healthier America has brought several industry supporters to the new logo and promotion initiative. For instance, Brita will feature the Drink Up logo on packages of its reusable filtering bottles.

And many players in the beverage industry are taking part, too. Bottled water is a lucrative and growing business — with $11.3 billion in sales in the U.S. in 2012. And companies such as Nestle, Deer Park and Poland Springs plan to integrate the Drink Up logo on packaging and delivery trucks. They also plan to talk up the message using social media.

Relying on the private sector to sell us water, however, is not everyone’s idea of a good way to hydrate. As we reported in 2012, more than 20 colleges and universities have complete or partial bans on bottled water because of environmental and health concerns about the industry.

GlobalTap is another supporter in the Partnership for a Healthier America initiative. This group is installing a new generation of drinking fountains — or taps, to be more accurate — in public spaces and schools around the world. Instead of leaning over to take a sip, the idea is more of a free filling station for your water bottle.

Not everyone is so impressed by the Drink Up campaign. Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says there’s not exactly a hydration crisis that needs solving. He says soda and sugary drinks are one of the biggest promoters of obesity and diabetes.

“Advocating drinking more actual water and less sugar water is one of the most important messages that [the first lady’s] Let’s Move could deliver,” Jacobson said in a statement.

Copyright 2013 NPR.

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Food and Health-related stories from NPR including NPR Radio; NPR's food blog, "The Salt"; NPR's Health News blog, "Shots"; NPR's Breaking News blog "The Two-Way"; NPR's economy explainer "Planet Money"; food-related technology news from NPR's "All Tech Considered"; and food series "Kitchen Window."