#UhawAreYou? 8 Out of 10 Filipino Kids Are Not Drinking Enough
Take the time to ask: Is your child dehydrated? What can be done to make your child feel refreshed? A serious yet often-overlooked matter that parents need to pay more attention to, dehydration affects most Filipino children. A study on hydration by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) states that 83 percent of Filipino kids are not drinking enough to keep them hydrated and healthy.
We may often overlook it, but hydration is equal to health and well-being! Most moms think that their children are not at risk from dehydration unless they are suffering from extreme cases of diarrhea or illness.
However, the real deal is that dehydration actually starts as soon as their children start feeling parched or “uhaw.” “Misconceptions are the major barriers to proper hydration, especially in countries like the Philippines,” says Dr. Rodolfo F. Florentino, a renowned health expert in the country. “While under normal conditions, adults can satisfy their water needs with the sensation of thirst, this is not the case in young children and the elderly when thirst comes late, and they are dependent upon others for their hydration needs. This is also not the case in conditions where fluid requirement is greatly increased as in heavy physical activity or in very hot environments.” This means when the weather is hot or kids are being active – they are more in danger of being dehydrated.
Dehydration of as little as 2% of body weight already has tangible negative effects on kids, including their alertness and concentration. Furthermore, dehydration may show itself through dry lips and mouth and dark-colored urine, but its deeper effects are a cause for concern.
In the long term, dehydration may even slow down their physical and mental performance. This might cause a drop in your kids’ performance in school, their strength during playtime and sports, and even their willingness to interact with other children. If not solved immediately, dehydration may lead to chronic dehydration, which increases the risk of the development of kidney stones, UTI, hypertension and even eventually a stroke.
The rule that you need only 8 glasses of water is a myth—individuals may need more depending on age or physical activity levels. School children 6-9 years old should drink 5-6 glasses of water a day, while children 10-12 years old should drink at least 7 glasses of water daily. Male teenagers 13-15 years old should drink 9 glasses a day, while girls should consume 7 glasses daily. Finally, males aged 16-18 should drink 10 glasses of water a day, while females should consume 8 glasses daily—these figures are subject to additions according to hotter weather and amount of physical activity. However, the taste of water and the habit of drinking it is not always appetizing to kids, making it a difficult task for them to drink water.
According to Dr. Florentino, “Water is not the only source of hydration. The food and different beverages that we take every day are also important sources of water in addition to plain drinking water to help the body rehydrate. Milk and dairy-based beverages, fruit juice, fruit-flavored drinks – especially when fortified with vitamins and minerals; soups, fruits like watermelon, melon and strawberries, and vegetables like lettuce, cabbage and spinach contain 90-99% water. Fruits like apple, grapes, oranges, and pineapple contain 80-89% water. All of these could be used to rehydrate. In fact, on the average about 20% of our total water intake comes from food, and 80% comes from drinking water and beverages.”
In cooperation with FNRI, Tang aims to increase awareness on the hydration gap in the Philippines and how it can be solved. The campaign “UhawAreYou?” was recently launched as a response to the situation. #UhawAreYou encourages parents to check on their kids’ state of hydration and take measures to make sure their child intakes the right amount of fluids possible through various ways. Often, kids enter into a state of “voluntary dehydration,” where they give up drinking water while they are busy playing or being active. Other times, kids are simply uninterested in water, and would rather drink something that tastes more interesting. The best way we can ensure that our children get the best hydration possible is by offering them drinks that they will love reaching for themselves.
‘The first step is raising awareness that we are not drinking enough – that we have a hydration gap problem especially among Filipino kids – imagine 8 out of 10 kids are not drinking the required number of glasses! Also, we have to let parents know the serious effects of dehydration to children. This will encourage them to keep their kids (and themselves) hydrated through different ways,’ shared Princess Landicho, Tang Philippines Brand Manager.
To make the campaign more relatable to mothers and parents, Tang has also partnered with celebrity mom Bianca Gonzalez-Intal who is known for not shying away from relevant issues. As a mom, she has also experienced having a hard time making her toddler drink enough fluids. When asked about how she works around the problem, she said, “I literally have to chase my daughter to drink! I have to find the perfect glass that she would drink most with, which was this colorful straw tumbler. Apart from water, I also make her drink milk and juice like our favorite Tang, all to keep her hydrated! As a mom, you just have to find out what works for your kids and stay patient!”
Real moms can have a cool summer by offering fruity, fresh hydration options to their kids. Sharing glasses of refreshing drinks does not only offer excellent hydration options—it’s also a wonderful way moms can bond with their kids!
So, #UhawAreYou today?
Follow #UhawAreYou on social media for more updates on this campaign.