Hydration and its Importance in Youth Populations


Kids are waking up in the morning and heading to school without consuming much water in the morning. Upon getting to school kids will already be in a dehydrated state, it’s hard to hydrate while you sleep, and then they will continue to not drink water throughout the day (Gibson-Moore, 2013). In many class rooms water is not allowed because teachers do not want kids to have to go to the bathroom. Many schools start around 8AM and go until 3PM. This would all be fine and dandy if the human brain was not 73% water, but it is! How can kids be expected to focus and function if they have to remain in a chair for this time without adequate hydration? What is adequate hydration?

Even adults struggle with hydration, and most would find that they are chronically dehydrated. Is everybody afraid of going to the bathroom? As little as 2% dehydration can lead to impaired cognitive function, reduced physical performance, fatigue and other adverse effects. Chronic dehydration of only 1%-2% can lead to urinary tract infections and constipation. Also, irritation and aggression levels have been shown to elevate (Gibson-Moore, 2013).

Now that we have highlighted the problem what is the fix? The fix is shown to be one more glass of water (Gibson-Moore, 2013). Just adding one more glass of water for kids during the day can improve kids cognitive function and fine motor skills. The skills being spoken of are writing, taking notes, retaining information, making connections, and many more cognitive processes (Gibson-Moore, 2013).

Kids are not the only individuals who need to get more water in. If water is important for kids then the proper example starts with the parents, teachers, and other guidance givers. If you want somebody to follow through with something you first have to live it. Teachers and parents need to start giving kids the opportunity to drink water and make trips to the water fountain or allow water within the classroom and require it at home. 10 sec at the fountain is approximately 8oz of water, however you rarely get the full 8oz of water in as you need to breathe as well. Instruct kids to count (in their heads of course) as they drink at the fountain. Counting up to 15 while drinking will give them close to 8oz of water. If their performance in class or in sport is suffering it could be that simply adding a glass of water could make all the difference.

References

Gibson-Moore, H. (2013). Improving hydration in children: A sensible guide. Nutrition Bulletin, 38(2), 236-242. doi:10.1111/nbu.12028

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