Kids Need Water

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 20, 2016 · 0 comments

Water is a low cost, no calorie drink that doesn’t have any negative effects on health or weight gain. Drinking sugar sweetened beverages, on the other hand, is known to contribute to weight gain in children. So it makes sense to encourage swapping some of these sweet beverages for water. Providing water at school would be a positive step toward meeting a child’s daily need. Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program are supposed to provide free drinking water during meals but the implementation of this requirement varies widely. Research has shown that when kids are able to drink between 10 to 17 ounces of water throughout the school day their performance on tests improves.

How much water does your child need each day?

Water needs vary depending on age, weight, temperature and physical activity. Water is also provided through food. Fruits and vegetables contribute a lot. Watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, cucumbers, spinach and tomatoes are all over 90% water. Contributing to mild dehydration in children is the fact that many eat too few fruits and vegetables.

Though guidelines will vary seasonally and with activity, the following can be used to estimate water intake daily.

Girls aged 4 to 8 should drink about 4 cups of water each day; boys 4 ½ cups.

Girls aged 9 to 13 should drink about 5 cups of water each day; boys slightly less than 6 cups.

Girls aged 14 to 18 should drink slightly more than 6 cups of water each day; boys 9 cups.

Getting enough fluids daily is important for all children, but when water intake is increased it has the greatest effect on adequate hydration and reduces the prevalence excessive weight gain in childhood.

How can you judge if your child is well hydrated?

The simple answer is the ginger ale test. If your child’s urine is darker than ginger ale, there is a good chance they did not drink enough that day.

Drinking water throughout the day is a healthy habit your child can easily swallow.

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