« Make healthy hydration the new norm »

12th Hydration for Health Annual Scientific Conference, 2020

"This year we have the opportunity to share the latest and greatest in hydration science with a much larger audience via technology."

Professor Stavros Kavouras

This year the conference focused on ‘Water across the lifespan: from physiology to education programme and policy making’.

Multi-disciplinary topics were as diverse as hydration in school children, how waters acquire their taste, functional water myth-busting, and the potential for hydration in the prevention and treatment of diseases such as stroke and recurrent urinary tract infections.

The Hydration for Health initiative, begun in 2008, comprises scientists and medical experts with a passion to boost awareness of hydration as a vital but often overlooked health need, and to lead the way in encouraging healthier hydration.

It also aims to nurture future generations of researchers and catalyse new collaborations in hydration science. This year for the first time, each speaker at the conference was introduced by members of the Hydration for Health alumni community, representing an innovative programme for young researchers set up in 2012 by the scientific committee.

Welcoming delegates to the conference on behalf of the scientific committee, Stavros Kavouras, Professor of Nutrition at Arizona State University, explained that the event would provide a unique opportunity to exchange ideas and information on how water intake influences health and wellbeing.

‘For the past 11 years the lake and mountains of Evian created a unique vibe in this conference' he said. ‘However, this year we have the opportunity to share the latest and greatest in hydration science with a much larger audience via technology.’

This report brings you summaries of the H4H 2020 presentations.


Read below a short summaries of this year Hydration for Health conference:

1. Water physiology from an evolutionary perspective

– Asher Rosinger, Department of Bio-behavioural Health Department and Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, USA

  • Over 2 billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water within 30 minutes from their home
  • Water needs have provided a strong selective pressure throughout human evolution
  • Early exposure to water scarcity could affect the development of the foetus and explain why some people tend to drink very little water

2. Obesity: behavioural and psychological aspects

– Jason Halford, School of Psychology, University of Leeds, UK

  • Healthy hydration is a key part of weight management which must also take account of what is known about the biology and psychology of obesity
  • Biological systems that normally regulate appetite are disrupted in patients living with obesity
  • In a vicious circle, obesity has an impact on mental health including depression and stress, which in turn can lead to overweight and obesity

3. School policy on drinking and toilets: weaknesses and relation with children’s hydration status

– Nathalie Michels, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Ghent, Belgium

  • Over half of Belgian primary school children are under-hydrated during the school day, and the picture could be even worse in some other countries around the world
  • Education on good drinking and toilet use should be introduced early in the curriculum; water should be available during the school day, and adequate and private toilet facilities provided so children aren’t put off going to the toilet
  • Drinking should be made fun – with clean and attractive water points, ideally away from the toilets

4. How Earth geology shapes various water tastes

– Lodovico di Gioia, Water Science and Technology, Danone Nutricia Research, France and Isabelle Francius, User Experience, Danone Nutricia Research, France

  • The taste of natural waters depends on their specific mineral composition, created by the interaction of water and rocks
  • Water from different geographical regions has different tastes
  • Taste diversity could be a lever in encouraging patients to drink healthily considering that taste is the key driver of choice for consumers of natural mineral waters

5. Functional waters, performance and health: facts and myths

– Evan Johnson, University of Wyoming, USA

  • The evidence for health benefits associated with functional waters is weak at present; identification of a putative mechanism does not equal efficacy
  • However, drinking functional waters as a replacement for sugar-sweetened beverages could have an indirect impact on health

6. Impact of hydration status in the pathogenesis of exercise-induced acute kidney injury

– Loris Juett, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, UK

  • Acute kidney disease (AKI) is diagnosed by changes in serum creatinine
  • AKI biomarkers may prove useful to improve diagnosis of the disease
  • Dehydration exacerbates changes in biomarkers of AKI following prolonged exercise

7. Hydration and immune health: what do we know today and what have we still to learn?

– Neil Walsh, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences Liverpool John Moores University, UK

  • Dehydration may impair our immune defences
  • Hydration status might influence immunity via two main pathways:

- Poor hydration may increase stress hormones, such as cortisol, that are involved in regulating the immune system

- Dehydration reduces levels of saliva and tear fluid, which contain antimicrobial proteins that are involved in immune defence

8. Water intake, hydration and cardio-metabolic risk in older Americans (Framingham Study)

– Paul Jacques, USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, USA

  • Under-hydration due to low daily water intake is linked to higher cardio-metabolic risk; but this is yet to be determined in older adults and is the focus of this new study
  • Examining drinking patterns in older adults may help us understand better the role of beverage consumption in adequate hydration

9. Aqua@brain: hydration in acute ischaemic stroke patients

– Alex Buoite Stella, Department of Medicine, Surgery and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy

  • Under-hydration is independently associated with more severe ischaemic stroke at admission and worse outcome at discharge
  • Over half of patients may be under-hydrated at the time of admission for ischaemic stroke
  • Stroke patients may not be getting enough fluid intake while in hospital
  • Sub-optimal fluid intake during hospitalisation may be associated with worse outcomes and higher mortality

10. The impact of an increase in water intake to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in premenopausal women and the benefits for healthcare cost

– Yair Lotan, UT Southwestern Medical Center, USA

  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) not only cause pain and distress to patients, but they also take a heavy toll on healthcare resources
  • Encouraging women to drink water every day is a simple but effective way of reducing recurrent UTIs and the need for antibiotic treatment
  • A study, as yet unpublished, has investigated the healthcare cost savings that could be gained if healthcare professionals promote increased water consumption with resulting reduction in UTI events

See you at H4H 2021!

Don’t miss next year’s Hydration for Health conference, to be held on 22nd & 23rd June 2021.
We hope to be back in our usual popular venue of Evian, France.
Keep an eye out for further announcements at Hydration for Health.