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Keywords:

  • body water needs;
  • fluid balance;
  • fluid homeostasis;
  • hydration

Healthy humans regulate daily water balance remarkably well across their lifespan despite changes in biological development and exposure to stressors on hydration status. Acute or chronic body water deficits result when intakes are reduced or losses increase, but day-to-day hydration is generally well maintained so long as food and fluid are readily available. Total water intake includes drinking water, water in beverages, and water in food. Daily water needs determined from fluid balance, water turnover, or consumption studies provide similar values for a given set of conditions. A daily water intake of 3.7 L for adult men and 2.7 L for adult women meets the needs of the vast majority of persons. However, strenuous physical exercise and heat stress can greatly increase daily water needs, and the individual variability between athletes can be substantial.