A recent study shows that most U.S. kids and adolescents hardly drink any fluids, so many of them end up mildly dehydrated. But what’s even more worrisome is that one third of U.S. children aged six to 19 do not drink any water at all over the course of a regular day.
The new study was conducted by Harvard scientists, who bumped into the new findings while they were following their initial plan of assessing the intake of sweetened beverages in U.S. schools in order to start a campaign to promote water as a healthier alternative.
Scientists noted in their paper that “kids weren’t really drinking that much fluid,” so they began wondering whether that posed a health problem on the long run.
Subsequently, they sifted through data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which hosts various pieces of information on study participants including urine tests.
The team could assess the participants’ hydration level from those tests. It is widely known that people who do not drink enough water have saltier, dark-colored urine.
The study was published June 11, 2015 in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers also found that more than a half of study participants were mildly dehydrated. They, however, reassured parents that that isn’t a severe condition which requires hospitalization, but it does have a negative impact on the kids’ overall health later in life.
Additionally, children that are a little bit dehydrated often report low energy levels, mood swings, and a lower capacity to learn new things.
Harvard scientists said that they were “astounded” to learn that so many kids did not drink water, while those who did drink it did not drink enough.
According to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) guidelines children and adolescents should drink at least two quarts, or 1.7 liters a day to three quarts, or 3.3 liters a day depending on their age, body mass and sex.
“That’s total water, so that can be from any beverages — any water that’s in your food like soups, juicy fruits and vegetables, things like that,”
the team explained.
Researchers added that teenage boys should drink more water than girls do at their age.
Nevertheless, though dehydration has an easy fix – more water – not all parents can easily persuade their children to drink more, especially if the little ones are clinging on their daily sugary drinks.
Tap water quality is another problem some schools tried to solve by offering jugs and bottled water, which can turn out to be a very expensive solution.
Image Source: Elisabeth Fit4You (blog)