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Think Health Thursday: 8 Glasses of Water: A Guide not Gauge

Last week the Huffington Post wrote about 8 Glasses of Water A Day ‘An Urban Myth’

The common advice to drink eight glasses of water a day doesn't hold water, say nutrition and kidney specialists who want to dispel the myth.

"What drove us to drink two litres of water a day?" asks an editorial in this week's issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

The recommendation was driven by vested interests rather than health, suggests author Speros Tsindos of the department of dietetics and human nutrition at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia.

The article makes some good points – specifically, the amount of water you need depends on several different factors like activity, health, body size/age, and even where you live. And they do a great job of noting that "8 glasses of water" more accurately would be "8 glasses of fluid" as the article points out that we get water from lots of foods and other drinks, not just strictly water.

If you're physically active or live somewhere with a warm climate, you are generally sweating more than others, so you need to make up for fluid loss – so you might require more. If you're sick, you likely need more. Kids probably don't need 8 glasses of fluid a day because they've got much smaller bodies… so the recommendation is pretty generic and varies depending on your lifestyle. Most people can tell if they need more fluid by thirst and just by looking at the color of their urine.

Learning ZoneXpress has created a series of products that promote healthy choices through numbers with 54321+8 for kids - building on the fact that kids don't need as much water - but a reminder that water is still part of the healthy equation. Here’s the “equation”…
5 - servings of fruits or vegetables
4 - glasses of water
- good laughs
2 - hours or less of screen time (TV/computer)
1 - hour of physical activity
8 - hours of sleep

We think it’s an easy way to keep health in mind and track healthy progress – but the numbers are guidelines – not strict prescriptions. You can get a taste of the product in the video below:

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