09 May 2012

Mild dehydration found to impair children’s cognitive function

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Children are at much more risk of dehydration than adults – due to their higher surface-to-mass ratio. I often wonder how it is possible for children to achieve their daily fluid requirements without taking a drink bottle to school as one drink at lunch in the school cafeteria cannot surely be enough. An interesting study of a group of school children (aged 11-12 years) in Manchester proved that encouraging children to drink adequate amounts had benefits on cognitive function, mood, feelings of calmness and feelings of ‘interest’ at school.

Here is the recommended amounts children should be drinking daily:

Age Girls / Boys
4-8 1120ml/day // 1120ml/day
9-13 1330ml/day // 1470ml/day
14+ 1400ml/day // 1750ml/day

The study in question found that sending children to school with a bottle of drinking water increased their water intake by at least 500ml or two cups per day. The benefits were significant.

Children frequently prefer sweetened drinks, but even this study found that children reported they developed a ‘taste for water’ during the 14 day trial.

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