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Dehydration a problem for obese people

Friday 15th July 2016
Obese people are more likely to suffer with dehydration and related health problems, according to a new study. Image: amnachphoto via iStock
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Dehydration is a significant problem for overweight and obese individuals, while drinking more water could help people to lose more weight, a new study has suggested.

Research carried out at the University of Michigan led to the discovery that adults with higher body mass index (BMI) scores are more likely to be inadequately hydrated than their normal-weight counterparts.

The research team looked at a sample of 9,528 people aged between 18 and 64 using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, finding that around one-third of these individuals did not drink enough water.

In comparison, people with healthier BMI scores were found to have better levels of hydration overall, leading the study authors to make a link between drinking more water and lower body weight.

However, obese and overweight people could also be preventing themselves from being properly hydrated if they are not consuming enough fruit and vegetables, as these foods have a high water content, providing another reason as to why those with lower BMIs and a healthier diet may be better hydrated.

Some dieticians recommend that people make sure they aren't just thirsty when they think they are hungry, as the sensations can be similar. While three balanced meals should be eaten each day, people are encouraged to limit snacking and should drink a glass of water to make themselves feel fuller and prevent dehydration before reaching for something to eat.

What's more, with a bigger body to hydrate, overweight and obese individuals need to drink more water than their normal-weight counterparts anyway to make sure they do not become dehydrated, as this can lead to further health problems, including dizziness and potentially dangerous changes to the heart rate.

Tammy Chang, lead author of the study, commented: "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."

Written by Martin Lambert

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