Raising awareness about the importance of healthy hydration

Jun 15, 2017

Our company aims to advocate for water as a top choice for healthy hydration.

It is one of our 42 commitments we have pledged to meet, as set out in the new report ‘Nestlé in society: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2016’, in which we look to build healthier generations and promote plain water from any source as a top option for hydration by people and families.

In fact, by 2020, we seek to boost water as a top choice on children aged 2-14, for healthy hydration in at least ten countries.

Highlighting the gap on proper hydration

In Italy, Sanpellegrino, Nestlé Waters’ beverage company and producer of sparkling mineral water brand S.Pellegrino, is helping to raise awareness about the importance of proper hydration in children.

Last year, it led the ‘Bere bene per crescere bene’ conference – drink well to grow up healthier – in Rome to highlight proper hydration in childhood, together with the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (FEMTEC) and the Italian Society of Preventative and Social Paediatrics (SIPPS).

At the event the findings of a survey (*) of 800 people in Italy, commissioned by our company on the consumption of water and hydration in children aged 0-14, were presented to spotlight the gap between what parents think about proper hydration – and what is actually happening.

For example, only one in two parents ask their children if they have drunk water during the day.

Results also revealed that parents have general, and often incorrect, knowledge about children’s hydration, with a fifth believing that their required water intake is less than one litre per day.

Over 80% of parents stated that their children only drink when thirsty – without knowing that dehydration has already started by this point.

The impact of proper hydration on childhood development

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At the conference, scientific and educational experts from FEMTEC, SIPPS, the Center for Research on Food and Nutrition, the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research addressed the audience of doctors, paediatricians, teachers, university students, journalists and bloggers.

“The results of this study make us reflect on the need to bridge the gap in information and awareness not only on the behalf of parents, but of the population in general,” said Professor Umberto Solimene, of University of Milan and a member of the Sanpellegrino Observatory and President of FEMTEC.

“Proper hydration can contribute to the prevention of numerous pathologies and guarantee proper childhood development,” he added. A letter of support on the conference from the Italian Minister of Education, Stefania Giannini, was also presented to attendees.

Informative tool for parents and paediatricians

They also received a handbook on hydration and children, aimed at parents and paediatricians, at the event.

The SIPPS Decalogue was developed with our support as a way to help parents and paediatricians better manage children’s hydration at different stages of their lives, while also highlighting medical issues related to poor hydration.

This year, it will be delivered to 10,000 paediatricians and 18,000 teachers.

“Our objective is to provide paediatricians and parents with a practical and easy-to-use reference tool,” said Dr Giuseppe Di Mauro, family paediatrician and President of SIPPS.

“This is the first time a document of this kind has been developed. We hope that parents and the academic world receive this important message: that proper hydration is fundamental to the healthy growth and development of children.”

The handbook also highlights the importance for parents to make sure that their children aged 7-10 drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

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Creating more awareness for parents

The event stirred up interest on TV, radio, websites, blogs and on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, with the hashtag #berebenepercrescerebene, to boost proper hydration awareness.

“How many mothers like us worry about the proper hydration of our children?” said one blogger. “Once at home from school, how many children hear the question, “did you drink?” Not many, probably.

“I worry that my children do not drink properly or leave the table without even having a drop of water. From today I will be more focused on the proper hydration for my children.”

Reaching thousands of children and teachers

Our focus on healthy hydration builds on our Hydration@SCHOOL educational project, aimed at Italian primary schoolchildren, teachers and parents on the importance of proper hydration, with the support of the Nutrition Foundation of Italy and SIPPS.

The third edition of the project was launched at the event to reinforce the importance of proper hydration to people across the country. Teaching materials, videos and worksheets with activities, tests and experiments can be downloaded on the website www.hydrationatschool.it and used in the classroom, aimed at children aged 6-7 and 8-11.

Since 2014, over 130,000 students and 37,000 teachers have taken part in the project.

(*) Survey on “Bere bene per crescere bene (Drink well to grow up healthier)” was conducted by GfK Eurisko on a sample of 800 people.