We’ve all heard time and time again how important it is to stay hydrated, especially when we lead busy lives or engage in frequent exercise. But how many of us are truly proactive when it comes to getting enough water?
Research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently demonstrated that more than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are not drinking enough water to maintain optimal health, and approximately a quarter drink no plain water whatsoever.
The authors of this study examined data from over 4,000 children and adolescents who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using a process known as urine osmolality, they were able to assess the concentration of each participant’s urine and therefore their hydration status.
They discovered that just over half of the participants were failing to drink enough water. Moreover, there were differences across gender and ethnic groups. Boys were 76% more likely to be dehydrated than girls, and non-Hispanic black participants were 34% more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be drinking insufficient water.
These findings are troubling because adequate water intake is essential for physical and psychological functioning. Although it is common knowledge that chronic or severe dehydration can be deadly, relatively few people realize that low-level dehydration is enough to trigger reduced concentration, fatigue and mood changes. This means that children who do not drink enough fluids may be underperforming in school.
Luckily, this is a problem with a simple solution. Just by encouraging children to drink more water from an early age, we can improve their academic performance and overall wellbeing. If you have kids, why not ask them how many glasses of water they’ve had today?
|||^||EurekaAlert!: Study finds inadequate hydration among US children|