Children ‘denied breakfast drink’
Thursday 5th September 2013, 12:10AM BST.
More than a quarter of parents do not give their children anything to drink with breakfast, a survey has suggested.
A poll of more than 2,000 parents found 19% said their child just had milk with their cereal, while 9% said their child did not drink at all with the first meal of the day.
Over two-thirds of parents (67%) said their children are not allowed to leave the classroom to get a drink during lessons and fewer than 50% of children use a water fountain during the day.
Some 26% said this is because school fountains are “dirty or broken”, while 21% said they are “too far away” for children to use.
The poll was conducted by the Natural Hydration Council (NHC), which receives financial support from manufacturers of bottled water.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, who is r esearcher in human nutrition at Manchester Metropolitan University and advises the NHC, said: “It is certainly concerning that some children may be going for up to 18 hours without a drink.
“Children are at a greater risk of dehydration than adults as they have higher water requirements in relation to their body weight. In addition, children don’t always recognise the early stages of thirst, which can make them particularly vulnerable to becoming dehydrated, especially during times that can drive up their body fluid losses, for example, in the school playground, or during warm weather.
“We should try to encourage children to drink water from a young age as it is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate, as it contains zero sugar, calories, preservatives or additives.”
Myles Bremner, director of the School Food Plan, which is supported by the Department for Education, said: ” The availability and promotion of water as the drink of choice in schools is something we want all head teachers to ensure happens in their schools.
“Our headteacher checklist in the School Food Plan is designed to help schools create a great school food culture. And that must include making sure our children are well hydrated.”