Hydration for all ages
Some age groups are quite sensitive to the effects of dehydration due to their particular conditions. In these categories we find infants, pregnant women and the elderly.
The body of a child, like the body of an adult, is largely made up of water. In the newborn, the percentage of the body made up of water reaches about 75% and then drops during development and maturation. Infants and young children may be at greater risk of dehydration, especially during hot weather or during illness, due to diarrhea and vomiting. In such cases, parents should be on the alert as a baby cannot communicate their needs.
PREGNANCY AND BREASTFEEDING
Pregnancy is accompanied by a 10 to 15kg increase in body weight. The fetus accounts for a mere 25% of this weight, the placenta for about 5% and the amniotic fluid for 6%. About 2/3 of the mother's weight is usually water.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are at a high risk of dehydration, especially in the early stages of pregnancy, if they suffer from morning sickness or diarrhea. During pregnancy hydration needs will change, and the baby's health depends on the mother. During these months, hydration plays an important role since an adequate supply of water is necessary for the renewal of amniotic fluid. Water represents 94% of the baby's weight at the end of the first trimester. It is important for mothers to drink enough water to meet the new needs of their body as well as the baby's needs during pregnancy. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that, due to the weight gain of pregnancy, mothers should add 300ml of water to the daily 2L intake that is necessary for their body.
Breastfed babies receive on average about 750ml of milk a day between the first and sixth month. Breastfeeding mothers lose a significant amount of fluids during this period, they should therefore increase their water intake. Mild dehydration does not affect the breastfeeding process, but moderate to severe dehydration can have a negative impact. Dehydration can also increase the sense of fatigue during a highly stressful time for the mother. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)* has concluded that breastfeeding women should add 600 to 700ml of water to their daily water intake of 2L per day.
Hydration is vital for those who want to stay healthy as long as possible. Over time, the body loses its ability to detect thirst and, therefore, to remain adequately hydrated. For this reason, the elderly should anticipate the needs of their body and not wait until they are thirsty to drink water. To prevent dehydration, it is best to drink water on a regular basis. Ideally, seniors should get in the habit of consuming one or two glasses of water with each meal.
People usually drink water only when they are thirsty, but from the age of 60 onwards, if they drink water only when they are thirsty, they cannot get the daily amount they need. Dehydration can cause serious problems in older adults. Older people are at greater risk of dehydration with life-threatening consequences. People between the ages of 85 and 99 are six times more likely to be hospitalized for dehydration than people aged 65 to 69.
Tips FOR PARENTS!
5 smart ways to prevent your children from becoming dehydrated
The winner is taste
Drinks intended for athletes help your child get enough fluids during activities. Studies have shown that children prefer these drinks because they drink up to 90% of them when offered to them. Sports drinks replace the electrolytes lost by the body through sweat but should be limited to use during sports because they are high in carbohydrates and calories.
An "icy" idea
Children get wrapped up in their activities and are easily distracted by their games, so the chances of them taking short breaks to rest are very small. If you find it difficult to convince your child to take a break from their game to drink water, then all you have to do is offer them an ice lolly. These treats have a high water content and their juicy flavors make them very attractive to children.
Fruits can be eaten as nutritious snacks, as they are excellent sources of water. You can offer your children fruit during their game, but also store them in the fridge to enjoy later. Fruit juice has a high concentration of sugar, so it is not the best choice of drink for hydration during intense exercise.
Eat your vegetables
Always plan to consume foods high in water content as part of your daily routine, to help your family stay well hydrated. Fruits, fruit juices and vegetables are excellent sources of hydration. Also soup, especially when made with vegetables, is an ideal way to stay hydrated during diet periods.
As they grow older, you will not be able to follow your children everywhere to ensure that they are consuming the fluids they need. However, you can help them understand the importance of hydration to stay healthy. Teach them the habit of taking frequent breaks to drink water. Help this good habit with a nice package, i.e. with good sources of hydration in their lunch boxes or backpacks.
Read more about our water, Dioni water.
* EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA), Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA journal 2010; 8 (3): 1459. [48 pp.]. doi: 10.2903 / j.efsa.2010.1459.
Available online: www.efsa.europa.eu