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Intake of Water Among U.S. Children Varies by Age

Most daily beverages consumed at meals; mean usual intake generally below recommended intake

THURSDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Intake of water in U.S. children varies by age, more than two-thirds of daily beverages consumed by children and adolescents are with meals, and the mean intake is generally below what is recommended as adequate, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Ashima K. Kant, Ph.D., and Barry I. Graubard, Ph.D., of Queens College of the City University of New York in Flushing, analyzed the water intake of 3,978 children (aged 2 to 19 years) reported in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2006.

The mean 24-hour intakes of total water for ages 2 to 5, 6 to 11, and 12 to 19 years were 1.4, 1.6, and 2.4 L, respectively, which was generally less than the Adequate Intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine. The researchers found that the percentage of total water consumption from plain water rose with age. Among adolescents, the mean proportions of total water from plain water, beverages, and foods were 33, 47, and 20 percent, respectively. Plain water intake was inversely associated with beverage moisture and the energy density of foods eaten. In contrast, beverage moisture was positively associated with the energy density of foods eaten, dietary energy, and fat consumption. About 80 percent of food moisture, more than 66 percent of beverage moisture, and around 30 percent of plain water were consumed with main meals.

"Efforts to moderate the consumption of sweetened beverages and promote plain water intake should not only continue to promote plain water for snacks but also should recognize the importance of replacing nonnutritive beverages at meal time with plain water," the authors write.

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