British children drink less than two glasses of water a day

British children are not drinking enough water research show. Picture: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
British children are not drinking enough water research show. Picture: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
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The average child drinks just a quarter of the water they should during the school day, according to new research.

• READ MORE: Call for action to increase Scottish children’s activity levels

Despite guidelines suggesting children aged five to eight should drink one litre - five glasses - of water a day, the average is consuming less than two glasses.

A further 32 per cent go through the entire school day with just one glass of water, while one in 20 parents admit most days their child drinks absolutely nothing between the hours of nine and three.

Despite the shocking findings, seven in ten parents insist their children do enjoy drinking water, despite drinks like squash proving more popular.

Dr Emma Derbyshire, a registered public health nutritionist speaking on behalf of Easy Peel Oranges, which carried out the study of 2,000 parents said: “Swapping break, lunchbox or afterschool snacks for fruits such as easy peeler oranges it a great way to top up kids fluid intake. For example, easy peelers are about 87 per cent water compared with crisps or a biscuit which are about three per cent water.

“These are also a great pre or post exercise snacks if kids are taking part in after school sports, also providing a vitamin C and fibre boost. Many people - children and adults alike forget that fluids can come from foods as well as drinks.

“European advice is that about 70-80 per cent of water as specified in the guidelines should come from beverages and the remaining 20-30 per cent originating from food sources.”

The study highlighted some of the craftiest measures parents have resorted to just to get their child to drink more - which includes sneaking juice and squash into their school water bottles (18 per cent) and letting them have a hot chocolate at bedtime (20 per cent).

Bargaining their dessert for a drink and allowing fizzy drinks at dinner are other ways parents keep their kids hydrated.

Worryingly, a third parents admitted their child had suffered symptoms of dehydration - such as mild headaches, dizziness and tiredness. What’s more, nearly half of parents believe their child’s concentration is impaired when they have not had enough to drink.

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Three in ten mums and dads blame schools for their children and the ‘water-only’ policies they often employ, for kids not drinking enough fluids. A further 71 per cent claimed their school does not even have a policy in place to ensure pupils are properly hydrated during the six hours they are there.

Only six in ten parents think their child has a drink during break time at school, and only 43 per cent say their kids are allowed to have water during class time.

In addition a third of parents admit they struggle to get their child to drink generally, and eight in 10 are convinced they rarely get enough fluids.