More than half of children and adolescents in the U.S. aren’t drinking enough water, a new study finds.
Researchers examined Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on more than 4,000 children and adolescents ages six through 19 from the years 2009 through 2012, analyzing urine concentrations to determine hydration. The study, which has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that just more than half of all children and adolescents weren’t getting enough hydration, likely because they weren’t drinking enough water. Boys were also 76% more likely than girls to be dehydrated, and non-Hispanic blacks were 34% more likely to be dehydrated than non-Hispanic whites.
“The good news is that this is a public health problem with a simple solution,” said senior author Steven Gortmaker in a release. “If we can focus on helping children drink more water–a low-cost, no-calorie beverage–we can improve their hydration status, which may allow many children to feel better throughout the day and do better in school.”
However, about 15% of Americans rely on well water for drinking, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making water purification another factor in the dehydration problem. These wells can easily become contaminated, which causes nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. It could even potentially lead to serious health issues, such as cancer, kidney disorders, and brain damage.
“Adding a point of entry ultraviolet treatment system to any untreated water source will ensure safe drinking water at every tap in the home,” says Joy Parker, Managing Member, PuriTeam.
Obviously, the fact that kids aren’t getting enough water is a problem. Inadequate hydration can have a serious impact on kids’ physical and mental health.
“There’s a lot of research out there to suggest that even mild levels of dehydration are enough to impact cognitive functioning and mood in kids,” lead study author Erica Kenny told CBS News.
The effects of even some dehydration include headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, irritability, increased heart rate, and poorer physical performance.
Ultimately, the situation boils down to one simple fact: kids need to drink more water.