Thirsty? Choose Water!


What is the problem?

Sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are not required for a healthy diet; however our children and adolescents are consuming them on a regular basis. Consumption of SSBs (soft drinks, cordial and sports’ drinks) has been associated with weight gain obesity, diabetes and tooth decay as well as displacement of other important nutrients such as calcium. Adolescents are frequent consumers of SSBs, with high daily consumption.

About the research translation program

The basis of the Thirsty? Choose water project is enabling students to refill their water bottles, with easy and free access to chilled water at school, combined with education and promotion of the benefits of drinking water in class. This message is then reinforced at the second year 7 immunisation visits. 

This MRFF translational research builds on the parent project, Thirsty? Choose Water!: Behavioural Interventions and Water Stations in Secondary Schools, funded through the NSW Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS) and led by the Central Coast LHD. The TRGS funded project involves 61 schools across three local health districts and is itself based on a pilot study conducted on the NSW Central Coast in 2016 and 2017.


For this MRFF study, approximately 24 regional schools from Hunter New England LHD and Mid North Coast LHD will be randomised to receive either:

  1. Thirsty Choose Water-Behavioural Intervention (TCW-BI);
  2. Chilled water stations;
  3. TCW-BI and chilled water stations; or
  4. Neither intervention (control arm).

Students will be surveyed throughout the project and regular water meter readings will be taken from the chilled water stations.

What will be the impact?

The project aims to determine if a behavioural intervention and chilled water stations, alone or combined, increase water consumption and effect changes in knowledge, attitudes and consumption of SSBs in year 7 secondary school students in regional areas. Students are also learning about sustainability by calculating the number of disposable plastic bottles saved from landfill by using the chilled water station.

It is anticipated that the outcomes of the study will demonstrate ways to encourage young people in regional areas to drink water instead of sugar sweetened beverages, this is believed to be an important step towards tackling childhood and adolescent obesity. In this way, the study will contribute towards the Premier’s priority of reducing the rate of childhood overweight and obesity by 5% by the year 2025.


For more information, contact Niki Kajons –