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Mar 13

Make Drinking Water A Healthy Habit

We all know how important it is to drink water. How many times have we heard that water makes up 2/3 of our bodies? We need it to stay alive, so how come it is so difficult to drink enough of it? Many experts think that we should drink at least half of our body weight in water each day (that means if you weigh 120 pounds, you drink 60 ounces of water a day). Another common saying is to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but I know very few people who do this. Not even me!

So, why is it so hard? I think that part of the reason is that we are addicted to the sugar in everything, not only in our desserts, but in our food and our drinks. Think about it, what do we like to drink? We like soda, “sweet tea”, and fruit juice. What do all of these drinks have in common? Sugar! Even energy drinks and vitamin enriched waters are loaded with sugar, which makes them taste good and makes them more appealing to us as consumers. We drink these beverages and we think that we are quenching our thirst, but really, because of the sugar content, these beverages just make us thirstier! We do need a little sugar in our bodies so that they function properly, but in large amounts sugar is an “osmotic agent” which means it draws water out of your body. So if you’re drinking a lot of sugary drinks, you are urinating more, losing water, and you’re still thirsty!

So what does it take to increase our water intake? How do we really quench our thirst? The only way to make a change is to make a conscious decision. Make a choice to drink water with every meal. After a while, it will become a habit. Start carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go. If you have it, you are more likely to drink it, and you’ll realize that you are less thirsty and have more energy. There are even water bottles with built in filters, so that if you don’t want to buy bottled water, you can filter the water you get from the tap.

As parents, we must set healthy examples for children. Healthy habits started in childhood usually carry over to adulthood.  Make drinking water a good habit. It will improve the health of you and your family.

Learn more about the importance of water in a healthy lifestyle at the 7th Annual Children's Nutrition Education & Physical Activity Expo on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at the Adamsville Recreation Center in Atlanta. Visit our Programs Page for more information.  

Dr. Ruby S. Thomas is a board certified pediatrician who is currently pursuing further training in public health and preventive medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine.  Her interests include childhood obesity, healthy nutrition, and urban agriculture.  She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. 

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