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Promoting Water Access and Intake in Parks and Public Spaces

Adequate consumption of clean water is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Drinking water can prevent obesity, dental caries, and support adequate hydration that is important for overall health. Despite the many benefits, many do not consume the recommended daily allowance of water. This is especially true for lower income populations and ethnic minorities who bear the highest burden of chronic health conditions associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Improving access to safe and appealing water and promoting its intake in public spaces could offer a way of addressing the racial/ethnic and income-related disparities seen in intake of sugary drinks and water, and associated health conditions.


The goal of this study is to understand how new water station installation and multicultural water promotion in parks affects beverage consumption.

Eligible Parks

30 parks in low-income neighborhoods in Oakland and San Francisco

  • 10 intervention parks in San Francisco neighborhoods slated to receive water stations and water promotion

  • 10 control parks in San Francisco and 10 control parks in Oakland that will not receive water stations or water promotion

Evaluation Methods

  • 4-day long observations of park visitors’ beverage consumption habits

  • Audits of beverage access in parks, including drinking water sources

  • Assessment of beverage-related promotion and marketing within parks

  • Surveys of randomly selected park visitors to examine their overall beverage consumption habits and attitudes about drinking water

Study Status

Baseline observations and surveys were conducted in Oakland and San Francisco from May to July 2016

Follow-up data collection pending

Policy Implications

Study findings can help policymakers, city planners, and public health officials understand how improvements in water access/water promotion in parks and public spaces affect the public’s perception of drinking water and their beverage intake patterns.


  • Mount Zion Health Fund

  • San Francisco Foundation

  • Stanford Diabetes Research Center

  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation


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