clean water pouring into a glass

"Water, Water everywhere nor any Drop to Drink"

Aug 18, 2023, 15:22 PM by Dr. Sally Robinson

Boy drinking water
“Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink” wrote Coleridge almost 200 years ago.  The same could be said by anyone on Galveston Island and most parts of Galveston County which are surrounded by water but facing water use restrictions.  As it has been said, water is the new gold.  People have been fighting over “water rights” for centuries and it is not getting any better.

Water is the most vital of human’s macronutrients.  Without water we die and quickly.  We can survive much longer without food if there is a water supply.  Adult humans consume about 2 ½ quarts of water a day but about half is contained in food.  It is now recognized that drinking eight glasses of water a day for good health is a myth and certainly is not in addition to the intake of food and liquids in a regular diet.  It is true that too little water can kill you but so can too much.

Along with milk, plain water is the best drink choice for children.  It is super healthy with zero calories and no added sugar.  It is good for the body keeping joints, bones and teeth healthy.  It can help children maintain a healthy weight and being well hydrated has been shown to be good for mood, memory and attention.  Safe tap water is much less expensive and better than than sports drinks, sodas and juice. recommends that around 6 months of age babies can be introduced to water.  They only need about 4-8 ounces per day until they are a year of age as they get the rest of their liquids from breastmilk or formula.  To stay well hydrated children ages 1-3 years need approximately 4 cups of beverages (water or milk), ages 4-8 years about 5 cups and 7-8 cups for older children.   Of course these amounts depend on children’s levels of activity and the surrounding environment (heat dome).

There are ways to keep water from being boring.  Remember water needs to be consumed before thirst is felt.  It needs to be part of the daily routine.  Water can be infused with lemons, berries, cucumbers or mint for added flavor, fruit can be frozen into ice cubes, popsicles can be made of pureed fruit and served in fancy or personalized small paper cups or water bottles.

Some fruits and vegetables that are high in water content are the following: cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, celery, tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and grapefruit. These are healthy supplements for both water and essential nutrients.

Drinks that should be limited are sugary drinks no matter what the advertisement says.  This includes sports drinks, juice cocktails, sodas, lemonade and sweetened water.  Even 100% juice should be limited as they are high in sugar and low in fiber.  There are strong recommendations that under one year of age no juice at all, 4 ounces from 1-3 years, 4-6 ounces form 4-6 years and ages 7-18 years 8 ounces.  Avoid drinks with stevia-or artificial-sweeteners.

by Sally Robinson, MD Clinical Professor

Keeping Kids Healthy
Published August 2023