HealthDay News — Children and teens aren’t drinking enough water — and that lack of hydration could impact their physical and mental health, results of a study published in the American Journal of Public Health suggest.

“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, ScD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School in a university press release.

“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.”

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To evaluate the hydration status of children and adolescents in the United States, the investigators culled data from a sample of 4,134 of patients, aged 6 to 19 years, from 2009 to 2012. Multivariable regression models were used to estimate the associations between demographic factors, beverage intake, and hydration status.

About half of the children and teens weren’t getting enough hydration. The likelihood of inadequate hydration was 76% higher in boys than girls, and 34% higher in blacks than whites, said the researchers. Nearly one-quarter of the study participants said they did not drink plain water at all.

“If we can focus on helping children drink more water — a low-cost, no-calorie beverage — we can improve their hydration status, which may allow many children to feel better throughout the day and do better in school.”


  1. Kenney E et al. American Journal of Public Health. 2015; doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302572.