SATURDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Children in the United States are not drinking as much water as they should, and the deficiency can have far-reaching implications, a new study suggests.
"Even mild dehydration can affect physiological function, and cause fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches and dry mouth," said Samantha Heller, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., who was not involved in the study.
Impaired cognitive and mental performance are also linked to inadequate hydration, said Heller.
According to the study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, only 15 to 60 percent of boys and 10 to 54 percent of girls, depending on age, drink the minimum amount of water recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.
Children obtain much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old H2O, the researchers found. And those who drink the most plain water consume fewer sweetened beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods.
For the study, Ashima K. Kant from Queens College of the City University of New York and Barry I. Graubard of the U.S. National Cancer Institute looked at the water intake of 3,978 boys and girls, aged 2 to 19 years, who had been included in a national nutrition study from 2005 to 2006.
Included in their analysis was water itself, water in moist foods, and moisture in all beverages and nutritious drinks such as milk and juice.
The investigators found that water intake from all sources varied by age: 2- to 5-year-olds drank 5.9 cups a day; 6- to 11-year-olds got 6.8 cups, and 12- to 19-year-olds consumed 10.1 cups daily. Girls generally drank less than boys, Kant and Graubard noted.
Kids of all ages are more likely to drink beverages than water at mealtime, the findings suggest. More than two-thirds of
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