Our bodies are made of about 70 per cent water – it’s what makes up the majority of our blood, digestive juices and sweat, and it’s found in our organs and muscle cells.
Water is used to metabolise fuel, regulate body temperature and digest food. Water enables our bodies to carry out all of its functions in the day, it continually moves about and is lost in urine, sweat, tears, blood and the air we breathe. Children, in particular, need to make sure they re-hydrate, as water is the primary way they regulate their body temperature.
Water contains no energy, and in most States of Australia, tap water has been fortified with fluoride to help protect against tooth decay. Australia’s water supply is one of the safest and cheapest in the world, so drinking tap water is cost effective and good for your health.
How much water do children need?
The amount of water a child needs is influenced by the amount of activity they do, the weather temperature, and their diet and health. It’s always important to remind children to drink, but as a general guide, children up to 8 years of age should have a minimum of 4-5 cups of water a day. Children above 8 years old require at least 6-8 cups of water a day.
Isn’t there water in our foods?
Even foods that do not look like they have moisture in them do contain water. The amount of water you can get from foods can make up to approximately 20 per cent of your daily requirements.
How do I get my child to drink water?
Research has shown that adding flavour to water may increase the amount of fluid consumed voluntarily. It’s important however to be cautious of the amount of kilojoules (energy) that might be consumed at the same time. Try these tips to help boost water intake in children:
• Add a slice of lemon or lime to give water a different taste (only sometimes as this is acidic and can soften teeth enamel)
• Ensure your child has always got a water bottle handy
• Use herbs including mint or spices such as ginger to flavour the water
• Freeze fresh fruits and use them as ice cubes in glasses of water