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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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The Basics of Water


Dietary Reference Intakes for Water:

Age Gender/Life Stage Adequate Intake of Water (Liters/day)
0-6 months Males and Females 0.7
7-12 months Males and Females 0.8
1-3 years Males and Females 1.3
4-8 years Males and Females 1.7
9-13 years Males 2.4
  Females 2.1
14-18 years Males 3.3
  Females 2.3
14-50 years Pregnancy 3.0
  Lactation 3.8
19-70 years Males 3.7
  Females 2.7
> 70 years Males 3.7
  Females 2.7
National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI/DRI_Tables/electrolytes_water.pdf.

The Dietary Reference Intakes are referring to water found in all beverages and moist foods.  Althought the Institute of Medicine has recommended intake for water, the amount of water each person needs is individual. For people who sweat during exercise, have an illness or health condition, are pregnant or breast-feeding, or are at greater altitudes, they may require more water than the amounts listed above.

Why is water important?

  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Helps convert food into energy
  • Aids digestion and absorption of food
  • Helps fat metabolism
  • Serves as an appetite suppressant
  • Protects organs
  • Lubricates joints
  • Regulates body temperature and blood circulation
  • Prevents bloating
  • Removes toxins and waste

What are the signs of dehydration?

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry, itchy, and/or saggy skin
  • Headache, weakness, or lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine
  • Constipation
  • Trouble staying cool or keeping warm

Tips for hydration

  • Do not substitute coffee, tea, or soda for water; they contain caffeine that causes dehydration
  • Drink water before and during meals
  • Carry a water bottle wherever you go
  • Get some of your water from foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, and celery

Bottled versus tap water
Choosing one type of water over another is a personal choice.

Bottled water

  • Bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water
  • Quality is regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Sometimes tastes better than tap water
  • More expensive than tap water
  • Do not reuse bottled water containers - they cannot withstand repeated use and washings; even the heat from the dishwasher will start damaging such containers.
  • Does not contain fluoride, which promotes strong teeth and prevents tooth decay

Tap water

  • Water coming from a tap is safe for human and animal consumption unless labeled as non-potable
  • Quality is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Contains fluoride, which promotes strong teeth and prevents tooth decay
  • If you do not mind drinking tap water and want to use a water container over and over, sports bottles made of heavier plastic and having wider mouths, such as Nalgene, can be cleaned and re-used

 


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