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Children Must Stay Hydrated: A Neurological Perspective

16.06.2019 | 7:14 am

As summer sets in, the risk of dehydration among children increases. Dehydration in children can be highly debilitating; affecting their cognitive abilities, mood and overall brain function. Moreover, children are far more susceptible to dehydration than adults as they tend to sweat more and are heavily reliant on others for sources of hydration. 

Why is water important?

The human brain is made up of 73% of water and it is a pivotal constituent for the organ’s vitality. When the human body loses too much water, brain cells forgo their efficacy. Such instances are even more pertinent among children.

Once dehydration takes over, children might feel lethargic, have lower attention span, poorer memory retention, impaired motor skills and may not perform as well academically. They may even be subjected to dizziness, light-headedness or headaches, all of which can impair them from living a regular lifestyle. Moreover, a dearth of water can cause mood swings, irritability, aggressiveness, as well as, lower cognitive and physical performance. 

Studies even suggest that children who consume optimum levels of water surpass their peers in terms of grades and extra-curricular activities. Further  research shows that even mild dehydration, between 1-3% of body weight, impairs several facets of a child’s brain function. 

What is the ideal water intake for children?

* The recommended water intake for children is as follows:

* 5 glasses or 1 liter per day between the age of 5 and 8.

* 7 glasses or 1.5 liters per day between the age of 9 and 12.

* 10 glasses or 2 liters per day from those over 13 years of age. 

Encouraging  children to drink more water

* Educating children on the initial signs of thirst can prevent them from facing a spell of severe dehydration.

* Encourage them to replenish themselves with water after any rigorous activity and at scheduled times during the day.

* In case they find the taste of water mundane, add a slice or lime or other natural flavors to induce regular consumption.