If you're like most parents, your pediatrician told you at your child's back-to-school check-up how important it is that your kids drink plenty of water. But how can we get our kids to drink more water when they're bombarded each day with sugary choices like juice, soda and chocolate milk?
Just in time for Back-to-School, Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao) -- the highly-regarded wellness expert, author of several best-selling health books including Secrets of Longevity, and one of Yahoo Health's top medical contributors -- has teamed up with Aquasana, maker of award-winning water filters for the home, to provide parents with a water Q&A with tips to get your kids to drink more water and help them form healthy water consumption habits at an early age.
Q: Why is drinking water so important for school-age kids?
DR. MAO: Water keeps our internal systems running properly, which is particularly important for kids because their bodies are still growing. Drinking water also helps kids perform better in school. Without enough water, kids can become dehydrated, which can lead to headaches, irritability, lack of concentration and sleepiness, all of which impact a child's mental and physical performance at school.
Q: How much water do my kids need to drink every day?
DR. MAO: A common myth is that kids need less water than adults because they're smaller. Kids need to drink as much or more water than adults do because they're growing and at greater risk of dehydration. Kids should drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water per day.
Q: My kids HATE the taste of water! How can I get them to drink that much water?
DR. MAO: What your kids are reacting to is the aftertaste that comes from the chemical traces in tap water. Filtering your water is the first step to getting them to drink more water. I like Aquasana filters because they make tap water taste really clean by removing the chlorine, lead and other contaminants that are in tap water. Aquasana filters also leave in all the healthy, natural minerals—like calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron—that growing bodies need. Another great trick is to add fresh slices of orange, watermelon, honeydew melon or another fruit to water.
Q: How can I get my kids to drink water while they're at school?
DR. MAO: Letting your kids design their own, one-of-a-kind, 20-ounce stainless steel water bottle makes drinking water fun and an opportunity for kids to express themselves. You can find some good options at www.siggskins.com and www.littlemissmatched.com. Send your kids to school each day with their water bottle filled with ice-cold, filtered, fruit-infused water. Also, take the time to educate your kids about the role water plays in their performance at school. Every kid wants to have an edge, especially in sports.
Q: What about plain old tap water? Isn't that good enough?
DR. MAO: Studies show that even the best tap water has toxins in it that give water a chemical aftertaste and present short- and long-term health risks. That is actually the reason why the President's Cancer Panel came out with a recommendation in May that American families install water filters in their homes. In fact, if your child has asthma or a chronic skin condition, you may find that having your child shower or bathe in filtered water will help.
Q: What about bottled water?
DR. MAO: I don't recommend it generally. Not only are plastic bottles a huge pollution issue, but 60 to 70 percent of all bottled water is exempt from the FDA's bottled water standards, so you can't be sure about the quality of the bottled water you're drinking. Bottled water is also very expensive—90 percent of the cost is in the plastic bottle, making it economically impractical for most American families.
Q: How can I find out what's in my family's tap water?
DR. MAO: It is required by law that a drinking water quality report, stating where your water comes from and what's in it, be available to you upon request and free of charge. The reports are usually mailed out by your water supplier in July. If you didn't receive a copy, contact your water company or visit the EPA web site at www.EPA.gov and ask for a copy.
Q: What should I look for when buying a water filter?
DR. MAO: I have long recommended Aquasana filters because they remove 99 percent of the chlorine, lead, pesticides and other toxins in tap water while leaving in the calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. This is important because those minerals are vital for a child's growth and development. I tell all my patients that installing a water filter at home is one of the easiest, most cost-effective and beneficial things they can do for their family. We even use filtered water to feed our pets and water our plants.
For additional information about water, visit http://www.aquasana.com/water_faqs.php
About Dr. Maoshing Ni (Dr. Mao), Ph.D., D.O.M., L.Ac., ABAAHP
Dr. Mao is one of the nation's most sought-after wellness experts. The best-selling author of two books, Secrets of Longevity and Secrets of Self-Healing, Dr. Mao is also a Yahoo Health columnist and a go-to health expert for a variety of national media outlets including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, "Extra," "The Doctors," and "The Dr. Oz Show." Dr. Mao's past and current patients include prominent medical professionals, Fortune 500 CEOs and celebrities including Robert Downey, Jr., Jim Carrey, Helen Hunt, Angelica Huston, and Sheryl Crow.
Aquasana is a leading and award-winning maker of water filters for the home, a $2.7 billion industry. Launched in 1999 by Sun Water Systems, Inc., Aquasana is highly regarded for its patented approach to water filtration, which strips out more than 99% of the chlorine, lead and pesticides found in tap water while preserving its healthiest elements, which include calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. As a result of their superior quality and consumer value, Aquasana's products have been voted a "Best Buy" by Consumers Digest for six years in a row. In addition, in June 2010, Health magazine named Aquasana's AQ-4000 water filter one of the seven healthiest new products for your home. Aquasana's drinking water filters are third-party tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories World Wide (UL) and the California Department of Public Health. For more information, please visit www.aquasana.com.