Children are arriving at school not sufficiently hydrated, according to new research.
The results of the first ever study investigation Hydration status of children in the UK has been publised and indicated that nearly two thirds of children aged 9-11 aren't getting enough fluid in the morning.
The figure is higher for boys at 68.4 per cent, with girls faring slightly better – although 53.5 per cent are still arriving at school with an insufficient level of Hydration.
Conducted by the University of Sheffield Medical School, the study was carried out on 452 children aged 9-11. Researchers looked at what the children were eating and drinking before leaving for school, and analysed urine samples to measure urine osmolality (the concentration of the children’s urine).
Professor Gérard Friedlander, of the Descartes University Medical School in Paris, who oversaw the research as well as similar studies in France and Italy, said: “We are concerned by the findings of the study which suggest that children are not consuming enough fluid at the beginning of the day to be able to maintain adequate hydration through the morning.
“Children are more vulnerable to dehydration than adults due to their high surface-to-body-weight ratio. They also don’t always pay attention to the feeling of thirst, so may not naturally ask for a drink. Today we want to raise awareness of the importance of hydration in children and strongly encourage parents and carers to make sure their child drinks enough at breakfast time so that they maintain good hydration, in case they don’t drink again until lunchtime.”
This independent research was commissioned by Nestlé Waters, in order to further understanding of the importance of proper hydration in children. These UK findings closely reflected recent research carried out in France and the USA as part of the same project, where 62.2 per cent and 64 per cent (respectively) of children arrived at school insufficiently hydrated.
Recommended fluid intake for children
The European Food Safety Authority advises that boys aged 9-13 should get 2.1 litres of fluid a day and girls should get 1.9 litres from foods and beverages. In terms of intake from drinks, it’s recommended that children at this age drink at least eight 150ml glasses of water a day, slightly smaller than the glass size recommended for adults.
Dr Pat Spungin, child psychologist and Parenting expert says: “Maintaining a good level of hydration is as important for children as having a healthy diet. Although it can sometimes be tricky to get children to drink water, the key is to encourage drinking little and often. Make sure they have a glass of water before going to school and perhaps pack a bottle in their school bag, so they can take regular sips. Plain water should be the first choice for all-day-long hydration.”