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Are your KIDS drinking this?

Your kids probably aren't drinking enough of this

     There's one simple liquid that has a huge effect on how well your family feels today: water.

Yes, good old water. More than half of children and teenagers in the United States might NOT be properly hydrated, but even if they’re drinking water, they’re still not getting the good stuff. In fact, 54.5% of the students in the study had urine concentrations that qualified them as below their minimum daily water intake.

     I am surprised that almost one in four kids drank no water during the course of their day according to the latest research.  And get this. Not all children and adolescents were equally dehydrated, according to the study. Boys surveyed were 76% more likely to be inadequately hydrated than girls, which was a statistically significant finding.

     While mild dehydration typically isn't life threatening, not drinking enough water could result in some things you might think are wrong with your children. Things like cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases.

     For younger children who are not hydrated, symptoms include: fussiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and a lack of tears when the child is crying. Keeping kids hydrated can help them with learning and to perform better in school.

     So how much water is enough? For kids and teenagers, daily water requirements vary quite a bit and depend on several factors, including age and activity level.

     *For total water intake, experts recommend that kids get the majority from drinking water, but also a small amount from food. Kids 1 to 3 years old need roughly four cups of drinking water daily. For kids 4 to 8, five cups is recommended a day. Once kids reach 9, the requirements differ by sex. For boys 9 to 13, eight cups of water is recommended daily, while girls need about seven cups.

     "Children don't have a highly developed thirst mechanism, so they're especially vulnerable to becoming dehydrated."

     When you think about losing water from the body, urination typically comes to mind. But breathing, sweating and your skin are all other paths that water can take to exit the body. In fact, YOU lose nearly 4 cups of water a day through the skin and normal breathing. That's why it's important to regularly rehydrate your body, which are roughly 60% water by mass depending on age and body composition. The best type of water, and the cleanest is filtered water. 

     Your kids should steer clear of caffeinated and sugary beverages because they contain other ingredients that don't provide nutritional benefits. Even worse, beverages with caffeine are mildly diuretic, meaning they cause the body to produce more urine. This means that caffeine could even make dehydration worse.

     Some schools built before the 1980s may have contaminated drinking water because of lead water pipes. For these communities, purified water from outside sources or bottled water are possible alternatives, but again, if you can give your children filtered water to take to school with them you’re way ahead of the game.

     Schools need to do a better job of providing kids access to clean drinking water, and not just during lunch time and if it were up to me, they’d have a filtered water system instead of what they now have.  Some schools have already taken steps in the right direction by providing water in attractive pitchers, refillable water bottles and easy-to-use fill stations.

     At home, parents can start by setting by a good example: drinking primarily filtered water and not pop, juice, kool-aid, tea or other beverages to create a "culture of hydration. Children shouldn't even have to ask for water," and younger children in child care should have filtered water, or at least some clean drinking water available to them at all times.

Eat to Live Not Live to Eat

Dr. Hesselberg 

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