BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
Water is a vital nutrient, and adequate hydration is important for the body to function properly. Children who drink too little water to meet their daily requirements are likely to become dehydrated, and even mild dehydration can have negative effects on the body. This issue is even more important in Middle Eastern countries, where high ambient temperatures increase the risk of dehydration. This study is the first cross-sectional trial aimed at measuring morning hydration status in a large cohort of 519 Egyptian schoolchildren aged 9 to 11 years.
Children were recruited from schools in and around the city of Damanhour, Egypt. With the help of an experienced nutritionist, the children completed a questionnaire on breakfast foods and fluids intake and collected a same-day urine sample after their breakfast. Breakfast food and fluid nutritional composition were analyzed, and urine osmolality was measured by using osmometry.
Surprisingly, >60% of the children skipped breakfast, leaving home without eating or drinking anything. The mean urine osmolality of these recruited Egyptian children was 814 mOsm/kg. Fifty-seven percent of the children had a urine osmolality >800 mOsm/kg, reflecting a hydration deficit, and 24.7% of children recorded high urinary osmolality (>1000 mOsmol/kg). Furthermore, results showed that a total water intake of <400 mL was associated with a significantly higher risk of dehydration.
This study found that a majority of Egyptian schoolchildren arrive at school with a hydration deficit. These results highlight the fact that there is a need to educate schoolchildren regarding the importance of having breakfast and adequate hydration, especially because insufficient hydration could affect the proper function of the kidneys in the long term.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics