MILAN – Children represent one of the categories most at risk because of their greater percentage of body water and faster water turnover.
There are multiple physiological implications deriving from this: alteration of their cognitive performance, decrease in their ability for muscular activity, gastrointestinal problems, heat exhaustion, hallucinations, up to circulatory collapse and the possibility of a heart attack.
Hydration and school performance
Now that they are back at their school desks it is important that parents and teachers help children to understand the importance of hydration, encouraging them to drink regularly throughout the day.
According to a study carried out on a sample of 59 children between the ages of 7 and 9, it has been ascertained that a correct water intake improves cognitive performance, by increasing attention and concentration levels.
How much water do we need?
According to a recent study carried out on children aged from 6 to 11 and on adolescents aged from 12 to 19 years, it appears that the necessary water intake is between one to three litres per day.
The difference depends not only on age and sex but also on the local climate and habits.
These are the parameters supplied by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA).
- Children 2-3 years: boys 1.3 litres per day / girls 1.3 litres per day
- Children 4-8 years: 1.6 litres per day / girls 1.6 litres per day
- Children 9-13 years: 2.1 litres per day / girls 1.9 litres per day
- Adolescents > 14 years: 2.5 litres per day / girls 2 litres per day
The amount of recommended daily water intake is different for boys and girls, as girls have a higher percentage of body fat.
Furthermore, the values indicated do not refer only to the ingestion of water, but also to other drinks and water-rich foods.
Here are some simple suggestions to ensure children are correct hydrated:
- It is best to hydrate our children in a healthy manner, motivating them to consume water and avoiding the excessive use of very sugary drinks or drinks with too many additives.
- Research demonstrates how correct hydration also impacts on the children’s school performance.
- Remember to put a small bottle of water in your children’s schoolbag to limit the consumption of other sugary drinks.
- Parents and educators should encourage children to drink regularly, so as to impart this healthy habit to them while they are still young.
- Teachers also have the task to educate them to understand the fundamental role of hydration in the wellbeing of our organism.
- Children should drink around 6-8 glasses of water per day.
- For children who play sports, the restauration of lost liquid through a more intense hydration is essential.
by Alessandro Conte
September 19, 2017