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Recommended Fluid Intake for Adolescents

By Eliza Martinez

Adequate intake of fluids during the adolescent years is important because it supports many bodily functions. Keeping your teen's body hydrated can prevent some common issues that arise during the teen years. There are some fluids that are better options for adolescents and encouraging your teen to drink them will keep him healthy.

How Much?

Just as with nutrients, the amount of water your adolescent needs to drink each day may not be the same as his friends. Fluid requirements depend on size, age and level of physical activity and your teen's doctor can help you determine the amount that is right for her. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that male adolescents get at least 2.4 to 3.3 liters of water per day and female adolescents need at least 2.1 to 2.3 liters per day.

Importance of Water

The functions of water in an adolescent's body are the same as for other age groups and a diet that is lacking in fluids increases the risk of health complications. Water and other fluids keep tissues moist, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, prevents constipation, supports efficient waste removal by the kidneys and liver and makes nutrients available to the body. Dehydration can occur if your adolescent doesn't get enough fluids throughout the day and may result in skin conditions, including acne, exacerbation of allergy and asthma symptoms, fatigue, headaches, weight gain and diabetes.


Many adolescents play sports, which increases the need for adequate fluid intake. The amount of extra fluid needed depends on the temperature and your athlete's size, gender and exertion level. For example, swimmers may not need as many additional fluids as football players do. Adolescents should drink fluids before playing sports, during play and after practice or a game has ended. Doing so prevents dehydration, which can affect an adolescents mental and physical capacity during sports, according to Kids Health.

Choosing Fluids

Not all fluids have the same affect on an adolescent and helping yours to make the right choices will offer the most benefits. Water is the best way to keep dehydration at bay, but it doesn't all have to come from a water bottle. Many foods are high in water content and contribute to an adolescent's overall fluid intake, including melons, citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, celery and squash. Incorporating these items into your adolescent's diet can help him stay hydrated and increase his nutrient intake at the same time. Sports drinks are good water alternatives for athletes, particularly ones who play hard for long periods of time. Soda, which contains caffeine, may not be hydrating since it can increase the need to urinate, depleting an adolescent's body of fluid.

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