It’s World Kidney Day! Celebrate and Raise a Glass…of Water!
Mar 10, 2016
Your kidneys are important bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. Think of your kidneys as the body’s garbage men. They filter and remove waste substances from our blood, including salts, toxins, and water. Without the kidneys, waste products would build up in the blood to dangerous levels.
One of the best and easiest ways to keep your kidneys healthy is by drinking plenty of water. Drinking water not only helps keep the kidneys healthy, getting enough water is also one of the best ways to prevent urinary tract infections.
So how much water should your kids drink? As a general rule of thumb, school-aged children and teens should drink at least six to eight cups of fluids a day. The goal is less for younger children and can also vary depending on their level of activity.
Here are a few tips to help your kids increase their water intake:
Add fruit. If your kids are craving a little more flavor, try adding some fruit to their water. Fresh fruit works great or you can add frozen fruit in place of ice cubes. Lemon, lime, orange and berries are all tasty options … just be sure to keep an eye out for seeds!
Make it fun. For little ones, a special cup or water bottle with their favorite cartoon character on it or a silly straw could keep them coming back for sips throughout the day. For older kids, there are a number of mobile apps available that help track water consumption. Many fitness trackers allow you to monitor your water intake, too.
Eat your water. Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content (it’s called watermelon for a reason). Cucumbers, lettuce and strawberries all contain a good amount of water. Another option is to make your own popsicles, substituting water and fruit for juice. An added bonus is that you’ll be able to monitor how much sugar is in your kids’ snacks!
Set a good example. Your kids look up to you! If they see you drinking water, they are more likely to follow in your footsteps. On the flip side, it’s hard to get your kids to develop good habits if you aren’t drinking enough water yourself. Make good hydration habits a family goal!
Hiren Patel, MD, is chief of the Section of Nephrology and medical director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also a clinical associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
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