For most exercising athletes, the ideal fluid for pre-hydration and re-hydration is water. Water is quickly absorbed, well-tolerated, an excellent thirst quencher, and cost effective. Sports drinks containing 6-8% carbohydrates and
sodium may be beneficial in some situations and for some individuals.
Despite the popularity of energy drinks, especially among teens, both the National Federation of State High School Associations and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend against their consumption by children and adolescents because of their potential adverse health effects.
According to a recent survey, almost 80 percent of U.S. adults believe they need to drink eight glasses of water each day to stay hydrated while 72 percent do not believe they get adequate amounts of water from their daily diets and typical drinking habits.
While deaths of football players from heat stroke are down (with only one during 2012-2013, compared to 5 in 2012 alone), heat stroke is an ever present concern in the sport because, according to an 2008 study by researchers at University of Florida, there are eight factors that make football players especially vulnerable to heat illness.
If your child is heading off to sports camp this summer, experts say that the chances are he or she will be dehydrated at camp. According to studies at the University of Connecticut, between 50 and 75 percent of boys and girls attending summer sports camps are significantly dehydrated, with 25 to 30 percent of the campers studied showed signs of serious dehydration, putting them at increased risk of heat-related illnesses.
When the heat index is above 95 degrees, athletes, especially children, are at increased risk of heat-related illness. Cancelling or modifying practices and games, or taking others to reduce the risk of heat illness, should be taken.
Dehydration can begin when an athlete loses as little as 1 percent of body weight. In a 70-pound child, that is less than 1 pound of weight lost through sweat. As little as a 2% decrease in body weight from fluid loss (e.g. 1.2 lb for a 60-lb athlete, 2.4 pounds for a 120-pound athlete) can lead to a significant decrease in muscular strength and stamina.