Hydration Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake

A woman drinking a glass of water

Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health. As plain drinking water has zero calories, it can also help with managing body weight and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories, like regular soda.  Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood change, the body to overheat, constipation, and kidney stones.

Adults and youth should consume water every day.

  • Daily fluid intake (total water) is defined as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water, and other beverages. Daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status.
  • Although there is no recommendation for how much plain water adults and youth should drink daily, there are recommendationsexternal icon for daily total water intake that can be obtained from a variety of beverages and foods.
  • Although daily fluid intake can come from food and beverages, plain drinking water is one good way of getting fluids as it has zero calories.

Water helps your body:

  • Keep a normal temperature
  • Lubricate and cushion joints
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
Sporty woman drinking water after exercise

Your body needs more water when you are:

  • In hot climates
  • More physically active
  • Running a fever
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages you drink. You can get some fluids through the foods that you eat – especially foods with high water content, such as many fruits and vegetables.

Tips to Drink More Water

  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Opt for water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
  • Serve water during meals.
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.
  • Make sure your kids are getting enough water too. Learn more about drinking water in schools and early care and education settings pdf icon[PDF-3.68MB].

Healthier Drink Options

Of course there are many other beverage options besides water, and many of these can be part of a healthy diet.  Beverages vary in their nutrient and calorie content.

  • Drinks with calories and important nutrients
    Low fat or fat-free milk, fortified milk alternatives such as unflavored soy or almond milks, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice contain important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, or vitamin D. These drinks should be enjoyed within recommended calorie limits.

Low or no calorie beverages
Plain coffee or teas, sparkling water, seltzers, and flavored waters, are low calorie choices that can be  part of a healthy diet.

Asian boy drinking milk

Encourage Your Child to Drink

When your child is between 6 and 12 months old, you can offer your child:

  • Water (4 to 6 ounces per day).
  • Breast milk (if you are still breastfeeding) or infant formula.

Once your child is 12 months old, you can begin offering fortified cow’s milk.

Water and Healthier Drinks Water and Nutrition


Remember to Hydrate

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration and other forms of heat illness.
  • Send athletes to practice and games with a water bottle and encourage them to stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play.
  • Encourage athletes to drink fluids 30 minutes before activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity.
  • If you’re a coach, establish mandatory water breaks throughout practice and games – don’t wait for your athletes to tell you they’re thirsty.

More sports hydration safety tips:  https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/sports_dehydration_tip_sheet_2015_skw_jnj_0.pdf

Source and further information: