More than half of all children and adolescents in the United States are under-hydrated — probably because they’re not drinking enough water — and that could have significant repercussions for their physical health and cognitive and emotional functioning, according to the first national study of its kind from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study also found racial/ethnic and gender gaps in hydration status. Black children and adolescents were at higher risk of inadequate hydration than whites; boys were at higher risk than girls.
The study appeared online in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
“These findings are significant because they highlight a potential health issue that has not been given a whole lot of attention in the past,” said lead author Erica Kenney, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard Chan School. “Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth.”