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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Dehydration in children and adolescents is a major concern for caretakers. Often children are not drinking enough, particularly while participating in physical activity. Utilizing data drawn from pediatricians, nutritionists, and bio-scientists, this paper will examine whether sports drinks are a good source of fluids for the exercising child. The results of the research indicate that the advantages generally associated with sports drinks, to achieve higher body water absorption levels, prevent electrolyte deficits, and maintain proper electrolyte/water concentrations, are reserved for unique circumstances. Sports drink intake should be encouraged only when the child is participating in prolonged physical activity, in intense exercise with short break intervals, or in hot/humid environments. In these instances, sports drinks adequately resupply the lost fluids and electrolytes. Furthermore, the carbohydrates contained in sports drinks replenish energy supply. However, under normal conditions, sports drinks are associated with health risks, primarily due to their excess of sugar. Care should be taken to encourage children to avoid sports drinks and instead encourage them to consume plain water at a rate equal to sweat loss. The research establishes that health risks involved with sports drink intake outweighs the benefit of increased voluntary consumption.

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