Italian Children Go to School with a Hydration Deficit

Baroukh M Assael, Marco Cip


Background and aims: Fluid requirements of children vary as a function of gender and age. To our knowledge, there is very little literature on the hydration status of Italian children. We assessed morning hydration status in a large sample of 515 Italian school children aged 9 to 11 years.\r\n\r\nMethods: Recruited children completed a questionnaire on fluid and food intake at breakfast and collected a urine sample the very same day after breakfast. Breakfast food and fluid nutritional composition was analyzed and urine osmolality was measured using a cryoscopic osmometer.\r\n\r\nResults: More than two thirds of the children had urine osmolality above 800 mOsmol/kg while 35.0% had urine osmolality over 1000 mOsmol/kg. This was more frequent in boys than in girls (71.9% versus 62.5%; p=0.02). Total water intake (water coming from both food and fluid), as well as total fluid intake at breakfast, were significantly and inversely correlated with urine osmolality.\r\n\r\nConclusions: Almost two thirds of the children in this large cohort had evidence of a hydration deficit when they went to school in the morning, despite breakfast intake. Children’s fluid intake at breakfast does not suffice to maintain an adequate hydration status for the whole morning.\r\n

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