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Children and adolescents in US found to slack on fluid, especially water intake

Posted:  Thursday, July 02, 2015

How often do parents track their children’s water intake? Not often? Probably, it is time to take cues from the study done in the US. A recent Harvard School of Public Health research reported that more than half of US children are not getting enough hydration and this could be because they slack on water consumption.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study assessed 2009-2012 data on more than 4,000 children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers specifically looked at urine osmolarity to determine a person’s hydration status.

The results revealed racial/ethnic and gender differences in hydration status. Boys were 76% more likely than girls, and non-Hispanic blacks were 34% more likely than non-Hispanic whites, to be inadequately hydrated. Surprisingly, nearly a quarter of the children and adolescents in the study reported not drinking plain water at all.

“These findings are significant because they highlight a potential health issue that has not been given a whole lot of attention in the past. Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth,” commented the researchers.

Water is the basis for many physiological processes such as circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and waste removal. Although severe dehydration does have serious health effects, even mild dehydration can kick in headaches, irritability, reduced cognitive performance and general discomfort.

A simple way to counter this problem is to promote water as a low-cost, no-calorie beverage.

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