Only a quarter - 24% - of school-age children drink the amount of water recommended by experts, with a fifth saying they never drink it, according to a new report.

Health and nutrition experts are concerned about dehydration in children as they may risk such symptoms as headaches, lethargy and an inability to concentrate at school and at home.

The comprehensive report, "Water: the source of life", was commissioned by Brita Water Filters and also covers water quality, health and beauty benefits of water, water costs and the environmental impact of bottled water.

The key areas include:

What are school-age children drinking?

Less than a quarter of school-age children surveyed for the report are drinking enough water while nearly three-quarters drink at least one fizzy drink daily. On average, children aged four to 15 drink only two and a half glasses of plain water a day. How much fluid a child needs depends on age and weight but as a rough guide the average four to six year old should be consuming 5 glasses a day and a seven to 10 year old, about six.

What is the environmental impact of importing bottled water?

Just one tonne of bottled water travelling one kilometre by road generates 2.4 grams of carbon monoxide, 3.6 grams of nitrogen oxides and 0.3 grams of hydrocarbons - three of the most serious pollutants in fuel emissions.

According to the report, some 624,807 tonnes of bottled water were imported to the UK last year, travelling many thousands of kilometres in the process.

What is in our water?

Soft water may sound good, but it can be more corrosive than hard water, and may contain lead, a poisonous substance linked to health problems. Lead is present in old pipes in some 9 million houses in England and Wales and the report considers how to minimise this and other undesirable substances.

The report also looks at the regulations affecting the production of bottled waters - mineral, spring and table waters - as well as the quality of tap water.

Copies of the report and full details of the children's drinking water survey are available from the Brita Press Office on 0207 815 3900.

Note to editors:
  1. Brita Water Filters improve the taste and appearance of drinking water by removing temporary hardness (limescale) and reducing levels of chlorine, lead, aluminium and other impurities.
For further information and copies of the report, please call:

Julia Roberts/Rhona Hurcombe, Brita Press Office, Munro & Forster Communications
Tel: 0207 815 3900