The bottled water industry recognized Earth Day this year by highlighting the importance of consumers having easy access to safe and clean drinking water for protection against diseases, obesity, dehydration and contaminated water. “This year’s Earth Day theme, Protect Our Species, is important to the bottled water industry, as it continuously works to reduce its impact on the environment,” said Jill Culora, VP of Communications at the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
“The industry has a strong record of conservation and environmental stewardship, including smart management of water sources, using less plastic in packaging, encouraging recycling and reducing water use in production, all of which help protect many of the earth’s species from harm. In addition, humans must have access to clean drinking water to protect themselves against contamination and conditions such as dehydration that can deteriorate their health. Water is an essential resource for our health and it should be the first choice for hydration, whether bottled, filtered or tap.”
“Water is the perfect healthy hydration beverage, as it contains zero calories and no sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors,” Culora said. “It is important to consume water throughout the day to remain hydrated. Scientific studies have shown that even mild dehydration, at 1-2 percent, can affect a person’s mood, energy and mental awareness.”
People of all ages benefit from choosing water first for thirst. For young children, plain water is recommended by nutritionists, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts as the first beverage they should drink. From four to six months of age, infants could be introduced to sterile water at 4-8 ounces per day, depending on a recommendation from the child’s health-care provider, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Introducing water into their diets early on is a good idea because it helps children become accustomed to its taste and could help them consume fewer sugary beverages later in life.
“For older adults, because they tend to experience less thirst, they are more prone to dehydration. In addition, older adults are also more likely to take several medications. The effect of multiple medications taken together, known as polypharmacy, can make dehydration more likely. Having a steady intake of water in their diets would help keep older adults hydrated,” Culora said.
Water is also beneficial for weight control. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects almost 40 percent of the US population. Drinking water in place of caloric beverages can help the nation’s overweight and obese population better control their daily calorie intake. For people who are overweight and trying to lose pounds, there is evidence that drinking water will also alter metabolism. Jodi Stookey, PhD, of Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in California, found that increases in water consumption were associated with significant loss of body weight and fat in overweight dieting women, regardless of diet and activity.
Drinking water also helps lower the risk for diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. According to David Edelman from Diabetes Daily, a person’s blood is 83-percent water. When the body loses water, the volume of blood decreases while the blood sugar remains the same. More concentrated blood sugar means higher blood sugar levels. Water is also necessary for the kidneys to flush out extra glucose, according to diabetesselfmanagement.com. And in addition to glucose, water also helps reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Bottled water is an ideal healthy hydration option and it is stringently regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food product. By law, FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be as protective of the public health as the US EPA’s standards for tap water. In some cases, such as lead, bottled water regulations are more stringent.
The bottled water industry supports a strong public water system, which is responsible for providing citizens with clean and safe drinking water. However, in some instances, tap water can become compromised. If contamination occurs, bottled water plays a vital role by providing the clean drinking water that people need.
“The bottled water industry is committed to helping people make healthier choices,” said Culora. “The demand for water is evident, as bottled water continues to be America’s most popular packaged beverage, by volume.” Nearly all Americans (93 percent) say bottled water should be available wherever other drinks are sold, with 89 percent saying they drink bottled water while they travel, 82 percent of employed Americans drink it at work and 75 percent of all people drink it at home, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of IBWA.
Whether it’s at home, in the office, or on-the-go, IBWA encourages all consumers to make healthy hydration a part of their lifestyle and select bottled water as their beverage of choice and always recycle empty containers. For more information about bottled water, visit IBWA’s website .