Is your teenager drinking enough water? Dehydration in adolescent high school students

Low water intake and chronic dehydration is a common problem around the world – especially in countries with high temperatures. A group of researchers from Cyprus has now found that the vast majority of adolescents participating in a study arrived at school dehydrated and remained this way until the end of the school day.

By George Aphamis

Proper hydration is important for overall health, physical performance during exercise and labour, but also for the maintenance of cognitive functions. A recent study, conducted in the eastern Mediterranean, where temperatures exceed 30°C for many months of the year, found 90% of participating adolescents to be dehydrated in school – around one third of them severely.

The researchers from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus observed that students did not drink enough during classes, and remained dehydrated until the end of school at around 1.30 pm.

Tired teenage boy napping at school during the class.
Teenage fatigue – is the early start of school the only reason? © skynesher/Getty Images

According to the researchers, dehydration could have a negative impact on the adolescents’ academic performance. Previous studies have shown that the performance of elementary school children in various cognitive tests improved after drinking water. Adults appear to handle mild dehydration without major adverse effects, however little is known about the impact on adolescents.

Little fluid intake made students tired and unfocused

In the present study, dehydration was associated with feelings of decreased alertness and concentration, as well as fatigue. Further analyses showed that the more fluids the participating adolescents drank, the better they felt in terms of vigilance and focus.

“As drinking behavior differs hugely from country to country”, the researchers stress, “it is apparent that educational measures on the importance of proper hydration must be addressed to youngsters, teachers and parents alike, in an effort to have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.”

Read the original article here:

George Aphamis, Pinelopi S. Stavrinou, Eleni Andreou, Christoforos D. Giannaki: Hydration status, total water intake and subjective feelings of adolescents living in a hot environment, during a typical school day, 05.04.2019.

The Editors

Articles signed by the editors were written in a collective effort.

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