Water is the cheapest and the healthiest drink available to us.
Yet children often overlook the benefits of drinking water especially in schools.
Some common reasons are
- No access to water
- No permission for bathroom breaks
- Poorly maintained toilets
- Feel unsafe to use bathrooms because of antisocial behaviour by peers
This is sad, because of their very nature; children are more prone to be dehydrated.
Some of the factors that contribute to this are
- Less sensitivity to thirst
- More physical activity
- High fluid loss
- Reliance on adults for water
The benefits of encouraging water consumption
- Helps fight obesity
One of the barriers to drinking water is that it not the “cool ” thing to do. When students are thirsty they often want a soft drink or a sweetened fruit juice. They fail to realize that these beverages are loaded with empty calories and contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. They also suppress the appetite for healthy meals.
- Improves mental function
Drinking water has shown to improve at least some, cognitive abilities like visual attention tasks. This is especially true for thirsty individuals. When you are thirsty, some of the attention is taken away from the immediate task at hand and this impairs the response time.
Bringing water to the examination hall may improve grades. According to a London study it alleviates examination anxiety and also helps the brain to perform better.
- Can help prevent urinary tract infection, constipation and bed wetting
Drinking plenty of water each day ensures you pass urine frequently. It helps flushing out of bacteria that can cause infection.
Inadequate fluid intake can contribute to constipation.
Constipation in turn can cause the ‘full’ bowels to put pressure on the bladder and prevent it from emptying fully. The remaining urine can become infected and cause urinary tract infection.
Bed- wetting is a common problem often hidden by children and parents due to the embarrassment and shame. These children often restrict fluid intake due to fear of wetting and paradoxically aggravate their problem.
- Increases exercise capacity and fitness level
Even mild dehydration can cause feelings of tiredness and reduce alertness affecting the activity level in children. Water needs to be consumed before undertaking any vigorous physical activity, during and after the activity for optimum performance.
Encouraging children to drink water through out the day in school can be adopted as one of the strategies to keep the class alert, calm, refreshed and energetic.
At the same time, the reasons that prevent them from drinking water should be probed and suitable solutions offered.
|Remember when a child ‘holds on’ to his urine even when he has the urge to urinate can lead to urinary tract infection.|