Healthier Beverage Environments

Many Washington state residents – particularly youth and low-income populations – consume too many sugary beverages and not enough water. The statewide Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition has undertaken a variety of efforts to decrease sugary drink consumption while increasing access to healthy beverages, both statewide and locally. Additionally, with assistance from our statewide Healthy Beverage Workgroup, we are identifying potential opportunities to build upon these efforts to make a real impact in communities across the state.

Michael T. Simmons students try out their new water bottle filling station at today's ribbon cutting ceremony.

Michael T. Simmons students try out their new water bottle filling station a YMCA ribbon cutting ceremony.


Sugary drinks like non-diet sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened fruit drinks—they contain little to no nutritional value and are one of the leading causes of obesity today. It is easy to drink large quantities of sugary drinks because they don’t make us feel full. What’s worse – they tend to be inexpensive, readily available and heavily marketed, especially to youth. The data clearly shows that those who overconsume sugary drinks are at risk for high blood pressure, and are at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

We believe that we can make a difference by making healthy beverage choices more available where we live, learn, work and play.

Currently, more than half of US children are consuming water below recommended levels. Further, a quarter of children aged 6-19 years old reported not drinking any plain water in the 24 hours prior to the survey. But it’s not just children who are not drinking enough. More than 43% of adults report consuming less than 4 cups of water a day.

Here are some past and current efforts that we are undertaking to make healthy beverage choices more widely available:

  • Capital Budget request for $1 million for water bottle filling stations. We have a request in the state legislature to include water bottle stations as part of a new school health grant that would make water bottle stations available to the neediest schools.
  • Modifying the statewide building code. We have begun the process to change statewide building code requirements to ensure that water bottle stations can be adequate substitutions for water fountains. This would be done through a rules process that began in March 2015 and will conclude by the end of this calendar year.
  • Hydrate for Health (institutional procurement work) (2013 – 2014) – COPC successfully provided technical assistance to 13 organizations that implemented new healthy beverage procurement practices and polices affecting over 20,000 individuals in King County. Additionally, 30 organizations initiated new healthy beverage education activities (CDC Community Transformation Grant)
  • Soda Free Sundays Campaign (2011-2013) – King county-wide educational, pledge campaign. Over 1,000 individuals, 55 organizations and the Seattle Mayor and City Council pledged to curb sugary drink consumption and increase healthy beverage consumption. (CDC Communities Putting Prevention to Work)