Encouraging water intake may not boost weight loss in adolescents
medwireNews: A randomized trial shows that supporting overweight and obese adolescents to drink more water alongside adherence to a healthy diet does not improve their weight loss – although this may partly be because few participants managed to drink the required eight cups per day.
The researchers say the origin of this common recommendation is not clear. However, it proved a challenge for the 19 adolescents assigned to the intervention. Although they increased their average daily intake from 2.0 to 4.8 cups, only three participants managed at least 7.5 cups per day, despite provision of in-person and telephone counselling, water bottles and pitchers, and reminder text messages.
And the change in body mass index z score over the 6-month study period was no different between the water plus diet group (2.1 to 2.0) and the 19 participants of the diet only group (2.0 to 1.9).
The participants reported barriers including being unable to drink in class, and finding it hard to refill water bottles outside of school and home. This suggests that increasing daily water intake to eight cups “may be simple in concept, but difficult or impractical in reality, raising the issue of feasibility,” write David Ludwig (Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, USA) and study co-authors in JAMA Pediatrics.
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