Water and physical health

Water is the best drink for children. It seems so implicative since our bodies are made mostly of water - the average adult human body is 50-65% water, and infants have 75-78% water (1). But why it is necessary to stress out this simple truth, which people used to know from always, right now?

There are a few reasons:

  • our bodies need water, which is also the best drink for thirst and we are not accustomed to soft drinks
  • in our world of abundance a lot of children choose soft drinks over water, which can lead to caries and obesity. But with drinking tap water we can prevent both. 
  • fresh tap water is always available for free, so drinking it is very simple: isn´t that wonderful news?

Now, think that children nowadays have very sedentary lifestyles, which leads to obesity. This is another reason, why it is important to drink water which is calorie-free over soft drinks. If we encourage children to get moving at the same time and have fun in nature, we won.  

What is the function of water in the body?

Water serves multiple purposes:

  • Water is the primary building block of cells.
  • It acts as an insulator, regulating internal body temperature. This is partly because water has a high specific heat, plus the body uses perspiration and respiration to regulate temperature.
  • Water is needed to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates used as food. It is the primary component of saliva, used to digest carbohydrates and aid in swallowing food.
  • The compound lubricates joints.
  • Water insulates the brain, spinal cord, organs, and fetus. It acts as a shock absorber.
  • Water is used to flush waste and toxins from the body via urine.
  • Water is the principal solvent in the body. It dissolves minerals, soluble vitamins, and certain nutrients.
  • Water carries oxygen and nutrients to cells. (1)

Read the whole article about the importance of water in our body here

How much water should children drink?

The daily amount of water that a child needs depends on factors such as age, weight and sex.

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements (2)

(includes water from all sources: drinking water, other beverages, and food.)

Age Range   

Gender    

Total Water (Cups/Day)

4 to 8 years        

Girls and Boys    

7

9 to 13 years    

Girls

9

Boys

10

14 to 18 years

Girls    

10

Boys

14

More about drinking water requirements you can find on this webpage

How do we see that the child is dehydrated?

Children are at a greater risk of dehydration than adults. This is because, in relation to their size, children have a larger proportion of their skin available to lose sweat and be exposed to heat. Additionally, children don’t always recognize that they’re thirsty, and if they’re not encouraged and reminded may forget to drink (6).

Common symptoms of dehydration are:

  • headaches,
  • poor concentration,
  • thirst,
  • cracked lips,
  • dry mouth,
  • constipation,
  • lethargy,
  • dark urine. (6)

By drinking fresh tap water we do a lot of good for the environment, too and encourage sustainability.  

In 2018 WHO has proclaimed Sustainable development goals, where water is part of four goals: Goal nr.3.: Good health and wellbeing; Goal nr.6.: Clean water and sanitation; Goal nr.13.: Climate Action; Goal nr. 14 Life below Water.

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