Nearly two-thirds of children are dehydrated because they hardly drink anything during breakfast, a new study says.
An analysis of more than 450 children between nine and 11 years showed 60 percent were classed as 'not sufficiently hydrated' - a stage just below 'clinical dehydration'.
A team from the University of Sheffield Medical School, Britain, studied what the children were eating and drinking before leaving for school. They also measured urine osmolality - the concentration of the children's urine, a key indicator of hydration levels.
Gerard Friedlander, professor at the Descartes University Medical School, Paris, who supervised the research, said: "We are concerned by the findings of the study, which suggest that children are not consuming enough fluid at the beginning of the day to be able to maintain adequate hydration through the morning.
"Children are more vulnerable to dehydration than adults due to their high surface-to-body weight ratio. They also don't always pay attention to the feeling of thirst, so may not naturally ask for a drink," said Friedlander, the Daily Mail reports.
"Today we want to raise awareness of the importance of hydration in children and strongly encourage parents to make sure their child drinks enough at breakfast time so that they maintain good hydration, in case they don't drink again until lunchtime," concluded Friedlander.
Friedlander has also overseen similar studies in France and Italy. He said the UK findings closely reflected recent research carried out in France and the US, which showed 62.2 percent and 64 percent, respectively, of children arrived at school insufficiently hydrated.
The UK study showed a higher figure for boys at 68.4 percent, compared with girls at 53.5 percent.