A recent study by Dr. Tammy Chang, assistant professor at the University of Michigan medical school’s department of family medicine, suggest that the amount of water Americans consume is linked to the nation’s steady high obesity rates.
The study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, used recent data from roughly 9,500 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey (NHANES). The survey records what participants are eating as well as their hydration levels, measured by their concentration of urine.
33 percent of survey participants were not adequately hydrated, furthermore, those participants recorded higher BMIs than those who had acceptable hydration levels. However, Time Magazine notes that people suffering from obesity may need more water than those with healthy weight levels, making the hydration threshold more difficult to reach.
Research suggests that water plays a role in weight gain, specifically, when individuals drink water before a meal, they eat fewer calories than if they were to eat without drinking water before the meal. “There’s so much focus on food and exercise, but so much more than just food and exercise goes into weight,” says Chang. The connection between hydration and weight is unclear, and “more studies are needed to understand the directionality,” she adds. “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.”