Saturday, 18 June 2011

"I Can't Concentrate!"

W-O-W Part Three:  Attention and Concentration

Wiseup-On-Water!  Poor hydration adversely affects a child’s mental performance and learning ability.  Symptoms of mild dehydration include light-headedness, dizziness, headaches and tiredness (18), as well as reduced alertness and ability to concentrate.(19,20)Once thirst is felt, mental performance including memory, attention and concentration can decrease by about 10 per cent. Mental performance deteriorates progressively as the degree of dehydration increases.(19,21,22)  Thirst is usually felt when dehydration reaches 0.8-2 percent loss of body weight due to water loss.(18)  For a 10-year-old child weighing 30kg this is the equivalent to one or two large glasses of water (300ml each).

Water consumption also has an immediate “alerting” and “revitalising” effect.(19)  In schools taking part in the Food in Schools water provision pilot project, teachers reported that “enhanced water provision contributed to a more settled and productive learning environment, as well as helping instill good habits”.(23)

18 Kleiner SM. Water: An essential but overlooked nutrient.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 1999:99:201-7
19 Rogers PJ, Kainth A, Smit HJ. A drink of water can improve or
impair mental performance depending on small differences in
thirst. Appetite 2001;36:57-58
20 Sherriffs SM, unpublished data, as quoted in Maughan RJ.
Impact of mild dehydration on wellness and on exercise
performance. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003;57
(Suppl 2):S19-23
21 Gopinathan PM, Pichan G, Sharma VM. Role of dehydration
in heat stress-induced variations in mental performance.
Archives of Environmental Health 1988;43:15-17
22 Sharma VM, Sridharan K, Pichan G, Panwar MR. Influence of
heat-stress induced dehydration on mental functions.
Ergonomics 1986;29:791-99
23 Food in Schools: Water Provision Toolkit.


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