Water and Your Waistline

We know that drinking water is good for us, but can it help curb the growing obesity epidemic? A new study suggests there might be a link between hydration and obesity.

From National Public Radio (NPR):

“What we found was that people who were inadequately hydrated had increased odds of being obese,” says study author Tammy Chang of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan.

The study was based on data collected by a federal health survey, in which researchers had documented weight and height of participants. They also conducted urine tests to establish an objective measure of participants’ level of hydration.

Chang and her colleagues found the odds of being obese were 1.59 times higher for people who were not well-hydrated. And overall, they found that a lack of proper hydration was associated with higher body mass index.

According to Time Magazine, the simplest way to determine if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. “If it’s light, almost the color of water, then you likely are, but if it’s dark, you need to step up your water intake.”

Researchers believe the color of urine is a better gauge of hydration than measuring how many cups of water someone drinks per day. CNN quoted one of the study’s authors as saying, “The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated depends on your body size and many other factors like your activity level and the climate you live in. Imagine if you were a landscaper in Arizona versus a receptionist in Michigan. The amount of water it takes to stay hydrated will be drastically different.”

And it’s not simply about drinking more water. The report adds that maintaining a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables that are high in water content can significantly improve hydration.

While researchers admit they can’t yet say with certainty that there is a link between hydration and weight, they do believe staying well hydrated is a key part of better health. “Hydration may be overlooked in adult weight management strategies. Our findings suggest that hydration may deserve more attention when thinking about addressing obesity on a population level. Staying hydrated is good for you no matter what, and our study suggests it may also be linked to maintaining a healthy weight.”

Share your thoughts on this new study – particularly as it relates to Arizonans who likely need to consume more water to stay properly hydrated. Generating these types of conversations around the health issues making headlines is one of the many ways we hope to drive better health in our state – which is a critical part of our long term goal to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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