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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Dehydrated at school?

8th May 2007

A new survey says 40% of British teenagers are not drinking enough water.


According to the think tank Expert Group on Hydration, many school children are not drinking enough water which is having a detrimental affect on their studies and behaviour.  Although there are no official UK guidelines, US figures suggest that four to eight-year-old children should be drinking 1.2 litres of water daily, nine to 13-year-olds up to 1.8 litres and 14 to 18-year-olds over 2 litres.  Children’s bodies have a higher water-to-fat ratio and therefore lose liquid faster than adults meaning they need to replace it more frequently.  Water is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies and brains and without enough a person can quickly become dehydrated.  Symptoms include poor mental concentration, stomach problems, headaches, irritability and a dry cough.  In the long term, sustained dehydration can lead to kidney and urinary tract infections and puts major organs under great strain.

One of the problems in schools is a lack of adequate facilities to enable pupils to consume the water they need.  The only legal requirement on water provision in schools is that they should, “have a wholesome supply of water for domestic purposes, including a supply of drinking water," which campaigners argue is too vague.  Nickie Brander from the charity ERIC (Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence) says, "If there aren't clear guidelines, how are inspectors to judge whether a school is providing healthy opportunities? Will a couple of grotty traditional water fountains emitting a dribble of tepid water be considered sufficient to meet requirements?"


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