Mrs. Obama's push to drink more water draws criticism

A sign of our divided times: Even a first lady project encouraging people to drink more water is drawing criticism.

Mrs. Obama travels Thursday to Watertown, Wis. -- naturally -- to promote a new program by her Partnership for a Healthier America to encourage people to drink more water.

"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," Mrs. Obama said in a statement. "So Drink Up and see for yourself."

Yet Politico reports several public health experts as saying that the White House is overselling the benefits of water.

"There really isn't data to support this," said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "I think, unfortunately, frankly, they're not basing this on really hard science. It's not a very scientific approach they've taken. ... To make it a major public health effort, I think I would say it's bizarre."

Goldfarb also told Politico: "The idea drinking water increases energy, the word I've used to describe it is: quixotic," he said. "We're designed to drink when we're thirsty. ... There's no need to have more than that."

The White House and its experts say too many Americans aren't drinking nearly enough water, and in many cases consuming too many sugary drinks.

In announcing Mrs. Obama's "Drink Up" program, the White House said:

"To remind families of the importance of drinking water, supporters of PHA's effort will carry the Drink Up logo on nearly 300 million packs of bottled water; more than half a billion bottles of water; 200,000 packages of reusable bottles; and more than 10,000 reusable bottles in the next year.

"Additionally, more than 10,000 outdoor public taps are expected to carry the brand over the next few years. Cities will also be utilizing the logo to encourage people to drink more tap water.

"And hosts on a dozen TV shows are participating in an around the clock, cross-network, bilingual day of drinking water and encouraging their audience to Drink Up."


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