With so many beverage options out there and so many social rules, drinking water might be harder for children than it might appear to adults nowadays. However, there are health risks linked to insufficient hydrating and therefore this issue needs to be addressed.
A team of researchers from Harvard University have conducted a study on 4,000 school children, with ages from 9 to 16, as part of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2009 and 2012.
They tested the children’s urine to assess their level of hydration and they found that almost half of the 4,000 students did not have an adequate level. They were mildly dehydrated, which does not make a person noticeably ill.
But it does affect concentration, it can cause headaches and a a decreased mental functioning, it may render a person irritable and it may even interfere with circulation.
There are many factors that affect the children’s decision to avoid drinking water. One one hand, there is a strong competition for plain water in the form of sugary drinks that sold in schools. These are much more appealing to small children then clear water.
If they have to chose, it makes sense they would chose the sugary sodas, because they taste better. But sugary sodas do not assure a proper level of hydration precisely because of their high sugar content.
This matter becomes even more complicated by social factors, as children sometimes put great emphasis on what the latest trend is. The advertising campaigns have a lot of influence among this particular age group, as they might play crucial roles in deciding which drink is in style and which one is not.
And water somehow never makes it in style. This means that when a school child takes out his water bottle, he might be teased and ridiculed by his schoolmates for his choice in beverage.
On the other hand, there are other social reasons why children chose to drink as little water as possible during school hours. The majority of these reasons involve the fact that the school restrooms are public.
This means that some children will embarrassed to use a public toilet, due to the lack of privacy. And so, they will try to avoid drinking water during school hours precisely so that they do not need to use the public restrooms.
Again, there are social factors to be considered, as these public restrooms have more than one purpose in schools. These are actually known for being a meeting point for bullies and so, the children will avoid going into the bathrooms precisely so that they may avoid running into them.
There are a lot of underlying issues to be considered in the development of programs meant to convince children to drink more water. It would actually be helpful if the children themselves were consulted about these social matters that greatly affect their daily routine.
In order to improve this situation, the development of social programs is imperative. It is crucial to teach people from a small age the importance of drinking water, so that they may develop healthy habits in the future.
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