Harvard Study Finds More Than Half of US Youth Aren’t Getting Enough Hydration
Water is life sustaining. This is true for plants, animals, and humans – who have been repeatedly told drinking at least eight 8oz. glasses of water is necessary to maintain proper hydration. Drinking enough water ensures the body can perform its essential functions, like temperature regulations and proper circulation.
However, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently released a study revealing that more than half of children and adolescents in the United States are under-hydrated, presumably from not consuming enough water.
This national study, the first of its kind, looked at the data on more than 4,000 children and adolescents (ages 6-19) that was collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009-2012. By examining these individuals’ urine osmolality – or the concentration of their urine – researchers could determine whether or not the participant was hydrated.
Not only did researchers determine that more than half of the population surveyed were under-hydrated, but nearly a quarter of them reported drinking no plain water at all.
The study also identified some interesting demographic disparities. Boys were 76% more likely than girls, and non-Hispanic blacks were 34% more likely than non-Hispanic whites, to be under-hydrated.
“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 Erica Kenney, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard Chan school and the lead author of this study. “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.”