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Health Education: Water

Volume 457: debated on Tuesday 6 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what measures she has taken to promote the health benefits of good hydration to the general public; (122315)

(2) what advice her Department has issued on the health effects of drinking enough water;

(3) if she will commission research into the health effects of drinking enough water;

(4) what assessment she has made of the comparative health effects of water and (a) sweet, (b) fizzy and (c) high-caffeinated drinks.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that six to eight glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, should be consumed every day to prevent dehydration. This amount should be increased when the weather is warm or when exercising.

The FSA has commissioned no specific research on the health effects of drinking water but keeps abreast of research in this area.

The FSA advises that food or drinks containing significant amounts of caffeine, such as coffee and some energy drinks, be consumed in moderation by children, pregnant women and others sensitive to caffeine. Cola drinks contain significantly lower levels of caffeine than coffee and caffeine-containing energy drinks and it is unlikely that their consumption by children would result in adverse effects. It also advises that fizzy and sugary drinks should be consumed sparingly and not between meals.