School is back in session and students are back in the classroom and back to their activities. However, more happens in schools than learning. It's also a place where students, teachers, staff, and parents can improve their health. Staying hydrated is an important component of staying healthy during the school day.
Why Hydration is Important
Depending on which source you use, your body is made up of 60-70% water. Your body uses water for cell functioning to sputum production to dispelling waste from your body. Water helps with digestion, controlling body temperature, and even breathing. Water also enables better brain functioning, improves alertness, and reduces fatigue.
Young children should receive 4-6 glasses of water a day, school-aged children should have 6-8 glasses of water a day, and adults should have 8 glasses of water a day.
Signs of Dehydration
Did you ever have a headache and not know why? It could be because you were dehydrated. Headaches are a sign of dehydration. The other sign of dehydration is being thirsty. If you feel thirsty, then you are probably already dehydrated. A dry mouth often accompanies thirst. Drinking a glass of water can help alleviate both of these symptoms. Another sign of dehydration is feeling tired. Because so much of your body needs water to function, not having enough water makes your body work even harder. One of the things your body may need to work harder at is digestion and eliminating waste. If you are feeling constipated or have dark-colored urine, dehydration may be the culprit.
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Parents Can Help By
Parents can promote good water drinking practices at home. Drinking a glass of water at every meal and at snack times teaches kids that drinking water or hydrating is an important part of providing energy for their bodies. Kids don't have to drink water all the time. Other low calorie, low sugar, and low sodium drinks will work, too. By serving healthier drinks at home, then parents will encourage and teach students to make healthy drink choices at school. Parents can also work with schools to create policies that allow students to carry water bottles. Clear water bottles may be the best option. Kids should be allowed to pick their own water bottles and maybe have a rotation throughout the week
Schools Can Help By
It's important that schools make healthy hydration a policy priority. Hydration stations with fresh, clean, drinking water should be available. Schools can also work with parents, as mentioned above, to create policies that allow students to carry water bottles in school. Like parents, involving kids in the process of creating healthy hydration policies is important and makes students feel engaged. For example, a sports team may sell water bottles with the team's logo to students as a fundraiser. High school students could create hydration stations as a class project. Elementary students may get involved in passing out drinks to their classmates or creating their own water bottles in their art classes.
Communities Can Help By
You know that parents and schools cannot do everything alone. They need the support of their communities, as well. The same goes for healthy hydration policies. Even if someone doesn't have kids in school, they can be a member of Healthy Schools Committees or create a Healthy Hydration Committee at the school. Schools have limited resources, so they often need the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm that community members have to offer. Communities can also encourage the creation of hydration areas at parks and on walking trails. They may also host local campaigns to drink more water.
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