Should children drink more water?: the effects of drinking water on cognition in children

Appetite. 2009 Jun;52(3):776-779. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.02.010. Epub 2009 Mar 5.


While dehydration has well-documented negative effects on adult cognition, there is little research on hydration and cognitive performance in children. We investigated whether having a drink of water improved children's performance on cognitive tasks. Fifty-eight children aged 7-9 years old were randomly allocated to a group that received additional water or a group that did not. Results showed that children who drank additional water rated themselves as significantly less thirsty than the comparison group (p=0.002), and they performed better on visual attention tasks (letter cancellation, p=0.02; spot the difference memory tasks, ps=0.019 and 0.014).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Psychometrics
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Thirst / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology