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Courtesy of Reuter's Health Information

While Americans may be awash in news about the benefits of consuming adequate amounts of water, most fall short of recommendations to drink eight 8-ounces servings a day, results of a new survey reveal.

According to the survey, nearly three quarters of Americans are aware of the recommendation but only 34% actually drink this amount of water each day. Most people consume only about 6 servings of water a day and nearly 10% said they do not drink water at all.

What's more, Americans drink an average of nearly 6 servings a day of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soda. These drinks can cause the body to lose water, making proper hydration even more difficult to attain.

Water makes up more than 70% of the body's tissues and plays a role in nearly every body function from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the body.

"Without proper hydration, the body is exposed to a variety of health risks," said Dr. Barbara Levine, director of human nutrition at The Rockefeller University in New York, which commissioned the survey.

Severe dehydration can affect blood pressure, circulation, digestion and kidney function. But on a daily basis, not getting enough water can cause fatigue, dry skin, headaches and constipation.

Among those surveyed, 37% mistakenly believe that people need less water in cold weather and 49% erroneously believe the body loses less water while sleeping than while awake.

Nearly one-third did not know that giving a child water instead of sugar-containing drinks such as juice or soda could help prevent childhood obesity, the survey revealed.

The survey of more than 2,800 people living in 14 US cities was conducted by an independent research group for the International Bottled Water Association.



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