• Adolescents;
  • beverage consumption;
  • children;
  • time trends;
  • total water intake

Water intake was evaluated and time trends in water intake and beverage consumption were assessed on the basis of 3 d weighed dietary records (n= 3736) of 2-13-y-old males (n= 354) and females (n= 379) enrolled in the DONALD Study (Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed Study, 1985–1999). Total water intake increased with age from 1114 g d−1 in the 2-3-y-olds to 1363 g d−1 in the 4-8-y-olds and further to 1801 g d−1 (1676 g d−1) in the 9-13-y-old boys (girls); 33–38% came from food, 49–55% from beverages and 12–13% from oxidation. Total water intake per body weight decreased with age from 77.5 gkg−1 (boys and girls) to 48.9 and 42.6 gkg−1 in boys and girls, respectively. Milk (9–17%) and mineral water (12–15%) were the most important source of total water intake. In the 15 y period a significant increase in total water intake (+1.7 to +3.2 g Mr−1 y1) in all three age groups irrespective of sex was found. The increase of total water intake was mainly due to an increase in beverage consumption (+0.32 to +0.47% y−1). This study offers a differentiated insight into water intake and patterns of beverage consumption in German children and adolescents.

Conclusion: The comparison of these data with other surveys points to a low total water intake, especially a low tap water intake, in German children and adolescents and underlines cultural influences on food and drinking habits.