More than 4 in 10 Americans don’t get enough of the wet stuff
You’ve heard the standard “drink eight glasses of water a day,” but recent research found that many adults—especially older Americans—aren’t drinking enough.
Researchers evaluated overall water consumption of more than 15,000 Americans. For the sake of the study, water consumption included drinking water and water from other beverages and foods. Though the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends eight pints of water per day for men and six pints for women, among adults aged 20 to 50, 43 percent of men and 41 percent of women failed to meet the recommendation. Folks aged 50 to 70 were even less likely to meet the guidelines, and among participants aged 71 and older, 95 percent of men and 83 percent of women don’t drink enough water.
These findings are important because water plays an important role in helping our bodies function properly. Drink too little, and your body struggles to regulate temperature, lubricate joints and digest food. Water also helps you lose weight and fight fatigue.
So how much water is enough? The IOM recommendations are a good starting point, according to study coauthor Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., of the University of Washington. But your needs will increase if you live in a humid climate or you sweat a lot due to strenuous physical activity.
It’s important to note that you can’t rely on your sense of thirst to tell you if you’ve had enough water, Drewnowski said. Age dulls the sensation of being thirsty, which might be a reason older adults did so poorly in the study.