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Is Your Child Drinking Enough Water?

Marathon runner Ryan Hall starts his day with 20 ounces of water and drinks at least eight ounces before and after meals. But many famous performers aren’t so smart: Since 2010 Gene Simmons, Lady Gaga (twice), Katy Perry and Nick Cannon have canceled gigs because of dehydration.

It’s a desert out there for lots of North Americans and no group is left higher or drier than kids 6-19. One study from Harvard found more than 25% of young folks don’t drink any water during the day and only around half get enough hydration. They may drink lots of sugar-packed soda and juicy drinks, but a load of caffeine and excess sugar can trigger fluid loss.

Adequate water intake is important for kids’ healthy circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, digestion and urination. Even mild dehydration can trigger headaches, irritability, decreased physical performance and fuzzy thinking. No matter what season, on active out-in-the-heat days and rainy, stay-inside days too–make sure your kids get plenty of water: 5-8 year olds need 34 ounces daily; 9-12, around 50 ounces; 13+, around 64 ounces.

Start their day with an eight-ounce glass of water, put a frozen bottle in their lunch box, keep a pitcher of cool water in the fridge and have them drink at least eight ounces before heading out to play. Dilute all sports drinks and juices by half with water.