Water in kids: its more than they THINK!

Not drinking enough water has been associated with decreased physical and cognitive performance and mood disturbances in adults (see Armstron et al., and Ganio et al., and the ACSM Position Stand on Exercise and Fluid Replacement), but what about in school-aged children?

Fadda and colleagues attempted to answer this question studying 9-10 year olds during their school day. The investigators looked into the children’s hydration status and if consuming water affected attention, zeal, memory, and concentration. The children were encouraged to drink water that was provided in their classroom and were allowed to keep the water on their desks.

Surprisingly the results suggested that ~80% of children are mildly dehydrated to start off their school day, but those who received and were influenced to drink water reversed this by the afternoon (about 60% were considered hydrated). It cannot be overlooked that 70% of the kids not receiving supplemental water remained dehydrated throughout the day.

Kids who drank more water performed better on short-term memory tasks and reported higher levels of energy; however, other cognitive tasks were not negatively impacted with decreased hydration.

Albeit the latter, the authors propose that these results can have implications for school policy and children’s learning capabilities, highlighting the importance of providing and encouraging water consumption throughout the school day.

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