Summer is here (or at least our version of it), and with it the need to stay hydrated, cool and sun safe. There is constantly a debate in the press about water versus other means of hydration, and whether tea and coffee, for example, are considered good or bad to stay healthy. A nutrition-expert colleague sums it up nicely for me: “Hydration is about cleaning out our bodies, and especially our kidneys. When you clean something, do you use water or tea?” The next question is often how much should we be drinking? The picture below shows that water has to be the staple of our diets in order to be healthy:
There is no doubt however, that the amount of water we need varies during our lives. When we are born we need 80-100ml water (in the form of breastmilk) per kg body weight every 24 hours. This increases up to 3 months of age, and constantly alters right up to adulthood. This all suggests that we really need to look at our children’s hydration levels more carefully. The table below shows the water that children should be looking to take on board (especially in summer) at different ages:
|Age||Av. Body Wt (kgs)||Total water in 24 hours (ml)||Water per kg body wt in 24 hours (ml)|
(Source: Behrman & Vaughan 1987; NJ Davies 2000)
In essence then, we need to look upon water as a vital part of our diets all year round, but even more so in hot weather. Hopefully by taking notice during warmer months, we can continue this healthy habit right through winter, and back out into next summer. Get some good quality water bottles, pack them into your bags wherever the family goes, and keep reminding the family to drink little and often. Enjoy the summer!