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Less water linked to more sugary drinks for kids

Healthy Families

(CLEVELAND CLINIC) – Summer months call for extra hydration, and experts agree that when it comes to quenching thirst water is the best choice for our kids. But, a recent study shows many kids don’t drink enough water, and some drink none at all. Diana Schnee, RD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, did not take part in the study, but said it found those who didn’t drink enough water, often drank more sugar-sweetened beverages instead.

“They were looking at fluid consumption, and particularly water consumption in adolescents ages 2-19, and they found kids who are drinking sugar-sweetened beverages are consuming about a hundred more calories a day,” she said. Researchers surveyed 8,400 youth and found as many as one in five adolescents and teenagers actually drank no water at all on any given day. Not drinking water was associated with drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages and consuming significantly more calories than the kids who drank water.

Schnee said kids often drink more sugary beverages in the summer months, because schedules are not as consistent, and less structure can lead to less oversight on what kids are consuming. In addition to extra calories, she said kids who don’t drink enough water will not function well, and will feel fatigued and run the risk of becoming dehydrated. If your child doesn’t like plain water, Schnee suggests making naturally infused water with frozen fruit, cucumbers, lemons and limes – it gives the water a little flavor, without adding any sugar to it.

She also recommends offering children foods with high water content. “Make sure your child always has water on them, and if they’re not as great at drinking water, make sure that they have high water content snacks available – this includes items such as fruits, vegetables or some homemade popsicles.” Schnee reminds parents when kids eat and drink too much junk food, it takes up space for the foods and drinks they really need to help them grow. Complete results of the study can be found in JAMA Pediatrics.

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