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December 15, 2022

How Many Cups of Water?

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have led a study tracking the water turnover of 5,600 people to create guidelines for how much water a person should be drinking a day.

Credit: National Science Foundation

How Many Cups of Water?

The human body's principal component is water, making up to 70% of your body weight according to the Mayo Clinic. The old adage says that we should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day, but is that number accurate? We'll explore in the U.S. National Science Foundation's "Discovery Files."

Water is essential to keeping your body working properly, but there is no universally applicable guideline for exactly how much water people should drink.

Supported in part by NSF, researchers at Duke and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have recently published the results of a study made by more than 90 partners measuring the water turnover of more than 5600 people. The subjects came from 26 countries, with ages raging from 8 days to 96 years old and were found to average between 1 and 6 liters of water turnover a day. The old 8 glasses adage would equate to approximately 2 liters, so not wholly wrong, but not universally accurate either.

Many factors impact these figures from age and sex to physical activity and environmental factors.

The study aimed to establish guidelines for public health officials to be able to anticipate daily intake demands as we respond to crises.

These guidelines are of increasing importance as the global population continues to grow and climate change impacts the availability of consumable water.

To hear more science and engineering news, including the researchers making it, subscribe to "NSF's Discovery Files" podcast.

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