Boy drinking water

We all know that drinking water is essential (if a bit boring!). But according to new research by Harvard University, many children and adolescents in the United States aren't hydrated enough—and many report not consuming plain old H2O at all.

The study, which appears in the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed data from more than 4,000 young individuals, between the ages of 6 and 19, who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Researchers found that more than half of the participants weren't hydrated enough. Dehydration was found to be 76 percent more likely in boys than in girls. Additionally, non-Hispanic blacks were 34 percent more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be inadequately hydrated.

"If we can focus on helping children drink more water—a low-cost, no-calorie beverage—we can improve their hydration status, which may allow many children to feel better throughout the day and do better in school," said Steven Gortmaker, the study's senior author, in a news release.

For parents who are struggling to get their children to drink plain water, experts suggest cold water over room-temperature, and infusing the water with fruit or veggies to make it more appealing.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Image: Young boy drinking water via Shutterstock