Family Health

Canadians Not Drinking Enough Water

Aug 20, 2012

We're all guilty of it -- choosing a can of pop over a bottle of water. But what happens when our kids develop the same habits? Forty-five percent of Canadians drink an average of four or more non-water beverages per day, according to a survey released for Nestle Waters Canada. Fifty-five per cent of the respondents said their children drink only one to three glasses of water per day.

In the survey, 22 per cent of respondents said their child drinks fruit juice the most often.

"It's scary to think about, but it does grab my attention," says Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. "This issue needs attention because it can lead to larger health threats, especially for kids."

About 26 percent of all Canadian children are overweight or obese, which is about 1.6 million children. This leads to an increasing trend of childhood health conditions, such as lung and heart complications, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, says Sherry.

Now that summer is in full blast, it's important that kids stay hydrated while playing in the heat.

How do you convince your child to choose water?
Sherry offers two crucial tips to ensure your kids get their daily dose of six to eight glasses of water this summer:

Educate your child. "There needs to be a discussion that explains why certain drinks are not a good choice," says Sherry. Parents should discuss the benefits of drinking water, its importance for the health of the organs and weight management, and the dangers of only drinking sugary beverages.Always have water available. Carry a few water bottles in your bag when you are out with the kids or stock a mini water cooler and keep it in the trunk of your car, suggests Sherry. Pack water bottles with the kids' lunches. "Make it a habit, like always carrying sunscreen or insect repellant," she says.The online poll, conducted by the Angus Reid Forum, polled 1,234 Canadian adults in nine provinces about their family's hydration habits.

Originally published in ParentsCanada, June 2012.

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