Getting your kids to drink more water

Getting your kids to drink more water

Photo: Imagesbazaar

It’s an important lesson you need to teach your kids and we’re not talking about the dangers of alcohol. Children need to know about the dangers of dehydration and consciously make the efforts to swig from their water bottles. Water is the key component of a child’s health. It hydrates, helps regulate body temperature, and helps avert constipation and urinary tract infections, without adding calories or sugar to the diet.

A new study from the Harvard T. H, Chan School of Public Health found that 54.4% of children and teens in the US are not drinking enough water. Despite the well known health benefits of consuming an adequate amount of water, the nationwide study found that more than half of the young participants’ urine concentrations revealed that they were drinking less than their daily requirement of water.

Boys were found to be especially lax when it came to their hydration needs. They were 76% more likely to not meet their hydration quota than girls.

“I was surprised that almost one in four kids drank no water during the course of their day,” said lead author Erica Kenney, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School.

Dehydration is only life-threatening when it is severe. However, not drinking enough water can have many negative effects on the body and on cognitive function, says Dr. Anisha Patel, a pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. Children who drink enough water are likely to perform better in school and can concentrate more on learning. Being dehydrated can cause headaches and nausea.

There is no standard amount of water recommended to drink daily. Requirements depend on a variety of factors, such as your child’s general health, age, activity levels and the weather. Parents should guide their children to drink more water.

According to reports, children between the ages of one to three need about four cups of drinking water a day. Those four to eight need five cups. Post age nine, water needs vary according to gender. Boys from nine to 13 need about eight cups of water, while girls need around seven cups.

As children cannot always tell when they are feeling thirsty, it is important to educate them on the importance of drinking enough water and remind them to reach out for a glass from time to time. It’s also important to cut down on sugary and aerated drinks such as colas and juices. It can form a bad habit inducing in your kids a craving for a sweet beverage when he is thirsty instead of water.

These drinks don’t provide any nutrition except for mostly empty calories and, if the colas contain caffeine, it can lead to further dehydration as it acts like a mild diuretic, increasing urination. Drinking pure water every day is vital for optimal health. But on the contrary, many make the mistake of abstaining water water for other types of fluids, most of which have added ingredients which is hazardous for health.

“Efforts to moderate the consumption of sweetened beverages and promote plain water intake should not only continue to promote plain water for snacks, but also should recognize the importance of replacing nonnutritive beverages at meal time with plain water,” say study researchers Ashima K. Kant, PhD, and Barry I. Graubard, PhD, of Queens College of the City University of New York.

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