The amount a person needs varies. Findings from a federal survey of U.S. adults provide some idea of how much water people are actually getting.
For instance, in the survey, 7 percent of the adults reported that they skipped drinking water altogether. About 36 percent said they drank one to three cups of water daily, 35 percent drank four to seven cups daily and 22 percent drank eight cups or more daily. The survey asked specifically about tap and bottled water, not water from other beverages or in food.
People age 55 and older tended to drink less water than people 18 to 34, and people in the Northern states drank less water on average than those in Southern states.
The survey’s findings are based on responses from 3,251 adults.
Some signs that you may not be getting enough water include dry mouth, low urine output, or urine that is dark yellow.
In the article “Water, Hydration and Health,” researchers summarize what is known about water and health. For instance, athletes can lose 6 to 10 percent of their body weight in sweat loss, but deficits in performance can start with as little as 2 percent fluid loss.
Also, mild dehydration can affect concentration, memory and alertness. Elderly people who are dehydrated can have delirium symptoms that are mistaken for dementia.
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