More than half of children and adolescents aren't drinking enough water, and even mild dehydration can cause headaches, irritability, poor physical performance and reduced cognitive functioning, a new study has found.
And it's worse for boys. Around 76 per cent are dehydrated, say researchers from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, who examined the records of more than 4,000 children and adolescents aged six to 19 years. Nearly one quarter of the children admitted not drinking any plain water whatsoever.
Dehydration is one of the most overlooked problems that can lead to poor health and affect school performance, say the researchers. "Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and adolescents," said lead researcher Erica Kenney.
At least the problem is easy to fix, she added.
(Source: American Journal of Public Health, 2015; e1, doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302572)