Pukepoto School have wholeheartedly adopted the slogan ‘Waters best, forget the rest’ by vowing to replace sugary treats with bottled water as a reward incentive for their students.

And Te Hiku Hauora health promoters Louisa Cooper and Anahera Tripp, who lead the ‘Waters Best’ programme, couldn’t be more delighted with the outcome.

“We never expected Principal Barry Murray would do this“ says Anahera.

“Sugary treats, especially sugared drinks, add to the growing number of kids needing extractions and fillings at such a young age, so for the school to take this stand, it’s just awesome.”

Messages of the importance of drinking water, combined with some of the bodily facts (Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working) are just part of the health programme delivered to Far North schools.

Along with those messages comes a display of how much sugar is in some of the drinks kids consume. For example; a 750ml monster drink, contains 19 teaspoons of sugar.

“Some of our tamariki are drinking these on a daily basis” says Louisa. “So for us here on the health promotions team, it is so important for us to be sharing these messages.”

“Hydrating with water is easy and affordable.  A 1.5 litre bottle of water from the supermarket can be purchased for under $1 and is free to refill from the tap, and water fountains. There really is no excuse not to make the healthier choice.”