(HealthDay News) — Many American children and teens aren’t consuming enough liquids – especially water – and that lack of hydration could affect their physical and mental health, according to a study published online June 11 in the American Journal of Public Health.
In the study, Harvard University researchers looked at data from 4,134 children and teens, aged 6–19, who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009–2012.
About half of the children and teens weren’t getting enough hydration. The likelihood of inadequate hydration was 76% higher in boys than girls, and 34% higher in blacks than whites, the researchers said. Nearly one-quarter of the study participants said they drank no plain water at all.
However, “the good news is that this is a public health problem with a simple solution,” study senior author Steven Gortmaker, PhD, a professor of the practice of health sociology, said in a Harvard news release. “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.”