You’ve heard it on the news and probably read plenty of studies on the matter. The importance of drinking water has been reiterated so many times, yet we still haven’t switched the sugary drinks for some healthy H20. As if this isn’t bad enough, our children are following our nasty footsteps. This is particularly worrying because kids live very active lives from the moment they wake up and go to school to when they play sports and may not have access to water.
Such an active lifestyle requires more hydration, and drinking sugary beverages can result in diabetes and obesity.
Where does the problem lie?
While kids of today burn less energy in a day, they still lead very active lifestyles. A survey published by the DCMS called Taking Part indicates that well over 75% of children participate in sports. Kids aged 5 to 10 tend to partake in swimming and football, while the older age groups are inclined to participate in football and basketball games.
What this means is that a great deal of children take part in activities that use up a lot of energy and fluids. Although it’s good news, not staying adequately hydrated can have negative effects on their health. A study by a team of researchers from the university of Sheffield Medical School found that out of 450 children, 60% where ‘not sufficiently hydrated’ at the beginning of the day.
This is particularly alarming, as clinical dehydration can lead to sleepiness, headaches, constipation, dizziness and sunken eyes and, in worst case scenarios, rapid heartbeat, breathing and fever or even unconsciousness.
Who’s to blame?
It’s impossible to pinpoint who exactly is responsible. While others blame parents for not nurturing healthy habits in their children, there are some who point fingers at schools and local municipalities for not providing adequate access to water. It’s safe to say, however, the responsibility falls on those who have the power to change how and when children can drink water.
Where do parents come into the picture?
The study by Sheffield Medical School has encouraged parents to provide water to their children at the beginning of the day. In addition, the UK government’s chief adviser dealing with food and drinks, Prof Susan Jebb, suggests that all fizzy drinks and juices should be banned from the dinner table. Although this may be a little extreme, kids do need to drink more water
Are schools and municipalities adding to the problem?
On the other hand, schools and local municipalities also need to provide more water facilities, such as drinking fountains and water coolers, that are easily accessible. Research by the Natural Hydration Council found that 60% of parents across the UK said their children’s schools didn’t provide enough access to water throughout the day. To make matters worse, some schools don’t allow kids to have water bottles at their desk during classes, making it impossible to drink water for the greater part of the day.
Regardless of who’s to blame and who’s responsible, the chief conclusion is that children must stay hydrated throughout the day to avoid falling behind on their studies due to illness, reduced attention span and exhaustion. Parents must introduce water to their kids’ meals regularly, while schools and municipalities need to start building more water facilities in and around schoolyards, parks and playgrounds.