Does your child drink enough water? The kind that’s unsweetened and not mixed with sugar, juice, or flavored chemicals? Just pure water? A new study, published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, suggests the answers are no, no, and no.

Using measurements of urine osmolality, researchers studied more than 4,000 pediatric subjects and found that 54.5% of them had elevated urine concentrations signifying inadequate hydration. Boys had a higher risk of dehydration than girls. But there is one finding from this study in particular that sticks out: nearly 25% of children surveyed reported drinking no pure water at all.

Being inadequately hydrated can cause some pretty significant cognitive and physical dysfunctions. David Costill points to evidence suggesting that improving hydration with water — especially in schools — can improve mental functioning and mood in students:

The physiological effects of dehydration range from mild issues such as headaches to more severe effects like impaired renal, immune and gastrointestinal functioning. Dehydration is also associated with cognitive impairment in children, causing irritability, poor performance in school, confusion, and in extreme cases, delirium.

“If we can focus on helping children drink more water — a low-cost, no-calorie beverage — we can improve their hydration status, which may allow many children to feel better throughout the day and do better in school,” study researcher Steven Gortmaker, PhD, said in a press release.


Plain water. Bottoms up!