Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake

A woman drinking a glass of water

Drinking enough water every day is good for overall health. As plain drinking water has zero calories, it can also help with managing body weight and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories, like regular soda.1-3  Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood change, the body to overheat, constipation, and kidney stones4,5

Adults and youth should consume water every day.

  • Daily fluid intake (total water) is defined as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water, and other beverages. Daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status.6
  • Although there is no recommendation for how much plain water adults and youth should drink daily, there are recommendationsexternal icon for daily total water intake that can be obtained from a variety of beverages and foods.
  • Although daily fluid intake can come from food and beverages, plain drinking water is one good way of getting fluids as it has zero calories.

Plain water consumption varies by age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and behavioral characteristics.

  • In 2005-2010, U.S. youth drank an average of 15 ounces of water and in 2011-2014, U.S. adults drank an average of 39 ounces of water on a given day. 7,8
  • Among U.S. youth, plain water intake is lower in younger children, non-Hispanic black, Mexican-American.7
  • Among U.S. adults, plain water intake is lower in older adults, lower-income adults, and those with lower education.8
  • U.S. adolescents who drink less water tended to drink less milk, eat less fruits and vegetables, drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, and get less physical activity.9

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CDC Publications (2012-2020)

Youth

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References
  1. Muckelbauer R, Sarganas G, Gruneis A, Muller-Nordhorn J. Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):282-299.
  2. Wang YC, Ludwig DS, Sonneville K, Gortmaker SL. Impact of change in sweetened caloric beverage consumption on energy intake among children and adolescents. Arch pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(4):336-343.
  3. Tate DF, Turner-McGrievy G, Lyons E, et al. Replacing caloric beverages with water or diet beverages for weight loss in adults: main results of the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;95(3):555-563.
  4. Manz F. Hydration and disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(5 Suppl):535s-541s.
  5. Popkin B, D’Anci K, Rosenberg I. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458.
  6. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Institute of Medicine Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water, Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes Washington, D.C. National Academies Press 2005.
  7. Drewnowski A, Rehm CD, Constant F. Water and beverage consumption among children age 4-13y in the United States: analyses of 2005–2010 NHANES data. Nutr J. 2013;12(1):85.
  8. Rosinger AY, Herrick KA, Wutich AY, Yoder JS, Ogden CL. Disparities in plain, tap and bottled water consumption among US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2014. Public Health Nutr. 2018;21(8):1455-1464.
  9. Park S, Onufrak S, Cradock A, et al. Correlates of Infrequent Plain Water Intake Among US High School Students: National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017. Am J Health Promot. 2020;34(5):549-554.

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