Water is essential for life. As a major constituent of the body, it has many functions including transporting nutrients and compounds in blood, removing waste products that are passed in the urine and acting as a lubricant and shock absorber in joints. Water regulates the body’s temperature; sweating is a very effective way of reducing the body’s temperature. The water content of the body varies with age and gender.

At birth, the human body is approximately 70% water and this decreases with age; in the elderly, it is about 55%. Drinking enough is vital to maintaining good health in the short and long term e.g. for the prevention of constipation, kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Hydration for children
Infants and young children have a higher proportion of body water than adults. They are also less heat tolerant and may be more likely to get dehydrated, especially when being physically active and in hot climates. Encouraging children to drink fluids regularly is important as children may not remember to have a drink by themselves.

The recommended daily fluid intake for children is:

Daily fluid intake

Table 19 Daily fluid intake

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