The Dubai Health Authority(DHA) recently began a campaign across its hospitals and primary healthcare centres to educate people about the importance of consuming sufficient amounts of water per day.
His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the DHA, inaugurated the campaign known as ‘Water is Life’ at Rashid Hospital. Al Maidoor said, ” This campaign is in line with the DHA’s vision to promote health education amongst community members. Water plays an important role in carrying out essential body functions; it is a cheap, simple and an excellent alternative to other drinks which contain sugars and unnecessary calories. Yet, we find that people do not consume enough water and our aim is to raise awareness so that once people are empowered with the right health information they can make healthy choices.”
Dr Wafa Ayesh, director of clinical nutrition at the DHA, said: ” Almost 80 per cent of patients we see, do not drink sufficient water and many of them are surprised to see how dehydrated they are after we show them their body analysis results. We want to educate our community to drink up sufficient amounts of water per day because water is needed for essential body functions. Moreover, in today’s times with expanding waist lines and the problem of obesity, other lifestyle diseases, it’s important to educate the community, especially children, that sugary drinks are not a substitute for water, it’s best to consider a sugary drink as an occasional indulgence, but on a daily basis water should be the main source of liquids a person consumes.”
She said drinking enough water is a recipe for good health, however, a majority of people do not consume sufficient water. “Most patients ask me, how can I calculate the adequate amount water I need per day? While, we cannot give an exact amount, because it depends on a person’s daily activities, the amount of exercise a person does per day etc. a good rule of thumb is to calculate it as per body weight. On an average everyone should drink 30 to 35 ml of water per kilo of body weight. For example is someone is 60 kilos, they should drink 1.8 litres to 2.1 per day.”
Alya Al Shamsi, clinical dietician at Rashid Hospital, said: ” Studies have shown that drinking sufficient water can help prevent high blood sugar but of course this has to be followed by a healthy diet as well. Diet, exercise and drinking enough water per day go hand-in-hand, there are no short-cuts.”
AlShamsi said a study in San Diego in 2011, stated that drinking about four or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day may protect against the development of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).
In a study of 3,615 men and women with normal blood sugar levels at the start of the study, those who reported that they drank more than 34 ounces of water a day were 21% less likely to develop hyperglycemia over the next nine years than those who said they drank 16 ounces or less daily. The analysis took into account other factors that can affect the risk of high blood sugar, including sex, age, weight, and physical activity, as well as consumption of sugary drinks.
Ayesh said: “People should understand that they must drink water even when they are not thirsty. Thirst means the person is already dehydrated. Water is needed for essential body functions, it helps cell life i.e. it is a carrier, distributing essential nutrients to cells, such as minerals, vitamins and glucose. It removes waste products including toxins that the organs’ cells reject. Water participates in the biochemical break-down of what we eat, it also helps control body temperature.”
Maitha Al Owais, Clinical Dietician at Dubai Hospital, added: “In addition to these essential body functions including brain function, helping the heart, blood supply, joints, lungs, kidney and liver, water also helps protect skin and hair. Despite whatever skin and hair routine we have externally including moisturizers, conditions etc. if we do not drink enough water, our skin will age prematurely and we will be prone to hair fall. Water helps maintain skin elasticity and aids supply enough proteins to the scalp.”
Al Owais added that water is essential for weight loss. ” In a nutshell, there is no good enough reason for a person not to consume sufficient water. So drink up, eat right, exercise and enjoy the benefits of a healthy life.”