Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake
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, result in mood change, cause your body to overheat, constipation, and kidney stones.4,5
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 recommendations 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 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.8,9
- U.S. adolescents who drink less water tended to drink less milk, eat less fruits and vegetables, drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, eat more fast food, and get less physical activity.10
- Water and Nutrition Basics
- Frequently Asked Questions about Drinking Water
- CDC Water Toolkits for Early Care and Education settings and Schools
- Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN) Water Access Working Group:
This site provides information on this working group who focus on policies and economic issues regarding free and safe drinking water access.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—Lead in Drinking Water at Schools and Childcare Facilities:
This site provides information about lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Find Your Local Consumer Confidence Report:
This site provides information on annual drinking water quality reports from local water suppliers.
- A water availability intervention in New York City public schools: influence on youths’ water and milk behaviors, February 2015
- Student-reported school drinking fountain availability by youth characteristics and state plumbing codes, April 2014
- Perceptions of tap water and school water fountains and association with intake of plain water and sugar-sweetened beverages, March 2014
- Factors associated with low water intake among U.S. high school students – National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study, 2010, September 2012
- The relationship of perceptions of tap water safety with intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and plain water among U.S. adults, January 2014
- Behaviors and attitudes associated with low drinking water intake among U.S. adults, Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, 2007, April 2013
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Manz F. Hydration and disease. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007;26(5 Suppl):535s-541s.
- Popkin B, D’Anci K, Rosenberg I. Water, hydration, and health. Nutr Rev. 2010;68(8):439-458.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drewnowski A, Rehm CD, Constant F. Water and beverage consumption among adults in the United States: cross-sectional study using data from NHANES 2005–2010. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1):1068.
- Kant AK, Graubard BI, Atchison EA. Intakes of plain water, moisture in foods and beverages, and total water in the adult US population-nutritional, meal pattern, and body weight correlates: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1999-2006. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(3):655-663.
- Park S, Blanck HM, Sherry B, Brener N, O’Toole T. Factors associated with low water intake among US high school students-National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study, 2010. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112:1421-1427.
- Page last reviewed: August 9, 2016
- Page last updated: October 23, 2018
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