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Young Athletes Suffer from Dehydration, Study Finds

Update Date: Aug 01, 2013 11:31 AM EDT

One of the most important things about being an athlete is maintaining a healthy body. Since athletes' bodies make careers and breaks records, nourishing it with a good diet and keeping it active are essential. Despite this, a new study found that young athletes are still neglecting their bodies. From this study, researchers reported that young players suffer from dehydration before and after practices even though water is readily available.

Stavros Kavouras, an assistant professor of exercise science and a researcher from the University of Arkansas headed the study in Greece to research the amount of water young soccer players drank during practice. Kavouras first looked at 107 male soccer players between the ages of 11 and 16. He recorded their initial hydration statuses on the second day of sport camp that took place in the summer. From this group, 72 of the boys participated in Kavouras' study, which monitored the hydration level in two additional training sessions. The players were provided with water and were allowed to drink it at any time throughout the training session.

Kavouras and his team were able to calculate the levels of hydration via the changes experienced in body weight. On top of that, the researchers also collected the participants' urine samples. The researchers discovered that 95 out of the 107 young athletes were already hypohydrated, which is a condition that arises from dehydration, before practice even started. In the group that agreed to be monitored for two more sessions, the researchers calculated that 96 percent of them were dehydrated after the second training session on the third day. After the third training session on the fifth day, the researchers found that 97 percent of them were dehydrated after the session as well.

"These kids start training hypohydrated, and they do not drink enough during training, inducing even greater hypohydration," Kavouras stated according to Medical Xpress. "Constant efforts must be made by athletic trainers, coaches and athletes to enhance hydration."

The researchers believe that these findings can be applied to young athletes throughout the world. Since dehydration negatively affects the body, the researchers believe that coaches might have to find new ways of encouraging water consumption. In the study, even though water was available, water consumption as not promoted or required.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

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