The old adage was ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, this time around, the saying goes ‘drink more water’. A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that American children are not drinking enough water. As a result, the study indicates that the lack of hydration could be affecting their physical and mental health.
Research Erica Kenney states that “even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing the quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth”. Other experts agree with Kenney.
Children can be more susceptible to dehydration than adults, so health specialists are pushing awareness towards proper hydration. Dehydration, in conjunction with a child’s “slower acclimation to heat and greater surface area than adults” can lead to increased demands on their kidneys, as well as increased risk for heat stroke.
The study looked a data from over 4000 children and teens between the ages of 6 and 19 who participated in the National Health and Nutrion Examination Survey between 2009 and 2012. The findings showed that approximately half of the participants were not getting enough hydration. Almost 25% of the participants also said they did not drink any plain water.
To health experts and researchers, this was unfortunately not surprising.
Proper hydration is imperative for ensuring proper circulation, metabolism functions, temperature regulation, and water removal. Excessive dehydration can lead to serious problems such as headaches, irritability, poor circulation, reduced physical performance, and decreased mental function.
Researchers identify that there is a positive in all of this: there is a simple solution. Drink more water! Here are some suggestions to increase a child’s water intake.
- Keep water cold. It tastes better to children than room temperature water
- Don’t rely on a child to tell you they’re thirsty. Have water readily accessible throughout the day
- Infuse water with fruit or sugar-free flavour shots
- Make ice cubes out of flavoured water to add to the drink and make it more fun kids
So go ahead, drink up!