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.
What they don't know is that all beverages, not just water, count towards meeting a person's daily hydration needs, according to a recent report by the National Academies of Science (NAS), and that a person is likely to drink more and stay better hydrated if he or she likes the taste of the beverage being consumed.
While the survey also revealed that eight out of 10 adults knows the benefits of being properly hydrated, and that a majority can identify the symptoms of dehydration, parents of youth sports athletes need to remember that:
- Youth athletes, unlike adults, may need to be educated about the importance of hydration and the dangers of heat-related illness;
It is up to parents to take steps to ensure that their child drinks enough fluids before, during and after sports; and
While all types of beverages count towards daily hydration needs, sports drinks should be the beverage of choice in the period from one to two hours before until one to two hours after sports because caffeinated beverages promote urination and the potential side effects - agitation, nausea, muscle tremors, palpitations and headaches - work against peak athletic performance, while carbonated beverages are absorbed more slowly and can causes stomach cramps, nausea, bloating and diarrhea.