How Many People Are Dehydrated?

How Many People Are Dehydrated-min

Not drinking enough water leads to a host of negative physical and mental effects, making it essential to regularly drink water for optimum hydration. Yet, despite the widely-recognized importance of proper fluid intake, people of all ages across the world live their lives at levels of hydration that are significantly below what leading organizations recommend.

We’re taking a closer look at the state of hydration today to understand what individuals are doing to ensure they’re drinking enough water and how workplaces can encourage greater water intake moving forward.

The Importance of Proper Hydration

Hydration is crucial for your health. This has been proven through dozens of independent studies, showing even mild dehydration can have a considerable impact on an individual’s physical and emotional abilities. In fact, the functionality of several organs, our cognitive ability, and our mood are hindered to an alarming degree if our body’s total water content drops by as little as 1%, according to Human Brain Mapping.

water loss infographic

With this in mind, it might come as a surprise that throughout the world, a majority of people live in the status quo of mild to severe dehydration. What’s more, this is observed in individuals of all ages — from school children to senior citizens. This not only stops our bodies and minds from performing at their best, but The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging notes that water loss and dehydration can ultimately have life-threatening implications for vulnerable individuals.

Why Is the World Dehydrated?

Fortunately, in the U.S., people are drinking more water now than they were 30 years ago. However, the average American still drinks significantly less than the 8.5 cups a day that are recommended by the European Hydration Institute — one of the world’s leading organizations in human hydration.


One of the biggest reasons behind this underconsumption is that the human body can become dehydrated more quickly than most people think. It takes only a 2% loss of total water content for your body to start feeling thirsty. According to the Baylor College of Medicine, once you’re at this point, your body is already in a state of dehydration. This increases the likelihood of experiencing a variety of symptoms that have been scientifically linked to fluid loss, such as:

  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Passing small amounts of urine infrequently
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

While these symptoms are telltale signs that an individual isn’t drinking fluids enough, they can quickly lead to more severe repercussions as a result of chronic dehydration. According to the Mayo Clinic, this includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint pain and muscle damage
  • Fever
  • Hyponatremia
  • Kidney stones


Symptoms related to dehydration are broad and can vary significantly based on several factors, including age. Luckily, these issues are easily solved by doing one simple thing: drinking more water. In fact, UC Davis Health states that plain water is the best option to keep yourself hydrated at any age. However, It’s worth highlighting that while all liquids will hydrate the human body, some do a much better job than others.


A Closer Look at Dehydration in Children, Adults, and the Elderly

Dehydration in Schools, Colleges, and Universities

Keeping children hydrated can have many health and educational benefits. The American Society of Nutrition found that well-hydrated children tended to perform better than dehydrated children, particularly in working memory measures. This is likely due to improved cognitive function, visual attention, and fine motor skills associated with proper fluid intake.

Despite clear benefits, independent research has shown that more than half of children and adolescents in the U.S. are not drinking enough water. This not only has severe health impacts, but also serious consequences on their performance in school. To give those at a young age the best chance of staying hydrated, here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Dehydration in Adults

The majority of adults don’t hydrate themselves close to the recommended level. In fact, multiple studies report that 75% of adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic dehydration, drinking only 2.5 cups a day on average. Inevitably, this means most individuals aren’t as productive or efficient as possible, and they’re failing to take advantage of other valuable health benefits that increased water intake can provide.


According to Healthline, keeping a high body water content helps:

  • Regulate and maintain body temperature
  • Avoid heat exhaustion and the resulting headaches, nausea, and heatstroke
  • Reduce obesity and aid weight loss
  • Improve energy levels

Despite the positive physical and cognitive effects of hydration, most adults go through their daily lives without enough water. To help ensure proper hydration daily, consider these tips from the Mayo Clinic to improve water intake:


Dehydration and the Elderly

As we become older, hydration becomes even more of a challenge. The British Nutrition Foundation reports older people are more vulnerable to dehydration due to physiological changes in the aging process — meaning proper water intake can inevitably become a matter of life and death.

Unfortunately, there’s a broad range of reasons why we are at a higher risk of dehydration as we get older:


According to the Cleveland Clinic, persistent dehydration in the elderly causes difficulty walking, confusion, rapid heart rate, a reduction in cognitive ability, and other more severe symptoms that can quickly land these vulnerable individuals in the hospital. Studies have even shown that a senior patient’s mortality rate can increase or decrease depending on their level of dehydration. The best way to prevent this is proper water intake, and it can be incredibly beneficial for family, friends, and caretakers to encourage seniors to stay hydrated. These strategies include:



Combating Dehydration at Work With a Bottleless Water Dispenser

Despite reports that more people are drinking water than ever before, the majority of individuals still live in a state of chronic dehydration. Considering the numerous studies conducted throughout the world, this occurs across our lifetimes — and employees in the workplace are no exception. Chronic dehydration at work leads to issues with both cognitive and physical performance which not only impacts workers’ well-being and productivity, but also your organization’s bottom line long-term.

Workplaces today are combating dehydration by taking their tap water or bottled water systems to the next level with a bottleless water cooler and filtration system. Organizations can work with a dependable water service provider like Quench to install a bottleless dispenser that connects directly to a building’s existing water line and filters tap water on-site — giving employees, guests, and customers unlimited access to clean, delicious drinking water.

These innovative bottleless solutions leverage advanced filtration technology including a reverse osmosis, sediment, and pre-carbon filter, to purify water at the point-of-use for an unbelievably clean result.

By introducing a bottleless water cooler that offers fresh, great-tasting water, you can experience a range of benefits including:

  • A more hydrated workforce
  • A never-ending supply of water
  • Reduced risk of exposure to bacteria, germs, and other harmful contaminants
  • An improvement in sustainability
  • The elimination of hassles and costs associated with water delivery

Supporting a Hydrated Workforce With Help From Quench

If your business is in pursuit of solutions that can drive water intake at work, Quench can help. Our water-as-a-service solutions — providing filtered water through a wide range of bottleless water coolers — are designed to help organizations ensure workplace hydration and employee health are at the forefront of their business. And with our reliable products, skilled service technicians, and responsive customer care from coast to coast, your business can rest assured that your cooler is always in working condition.

Ready to encourage employees to stay hydrated at work? Explore our suite of bottleless water coolers or try our product finder to discover the machine that’s the perfect fit for your workplace. Or, get a free quote to get started.