Ease of restroom access influences fluid consumption habits and health in classroom teachers
Objectives. There are rising concerns about the health of classroom teachers in the USA, including stress, hypertension and frequent urinary tract infections. Teacher working conditions are likely a contributor to their health concerns. Many teachers report that they cannot easily take a restroom break at work, and therefore they consume minimal water or other fluids. This study investigated the relationship between restroom access and fluid consumption and the prevalence of renal and cardiovascular health complications in classroom teachers. Methods. The responses of 844 teachers (92% women, 8% men; 65.1% between age 26 and 45 years) to an online survey about restroom accessibility, fluid consumption and health were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi(2) analyses and logistic regression. Results. Fifty-nine percent of teachers could not easily take a restroom break, and 54.7% consumed fewer than 2 cups of water per workday. Furthermore, 44.8% reported being pre-hypertensive and 4.9% reported being hypertensive. Teachers with insufficient restroom access were significantly more likely to report frequent urinary tract infections. Conclusions. This study demonstrates a relationship between restroom access, fluid consumption and renal/cardiovascular health in classroom teachers. Future research should directly investigate how teacher work environment impacts renal and cardiovascular health.