YOUhydration (part 1)

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YOU hydration [euhydration] | project by Simone van den Broek

Final Master Project project of Simone van den Broek for the Constructive Design Research track at the Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology.
The purpose of the research study YOU hydrated is to research how young adults who do not live with their parents can be activated to adopt an euhydrated lifestyle trough a design solution.
The objective of the study is to find out what keeps young adults from adopting an euhydrated lifestyle and what is needed for them to adopt an euhydrated lifestyle.


Full Research description

Vitality is the combination of factual and perceived [18] mental and physical well-being. Having a healthy lifestyle contributes to one’s vitality [7]. Maintaining a balanced diet [8], executing sufficient exercise [10][11], taking enough rest [12] are part of following a healthy lifestyle.

When it comes to maintaining a balanced diet there is a lot of information and emphasise on food [8][4]. One can calculate what calories and macros need to be eaten according to their lifestyle, goals and preferences [9].

An aspect of maintaining a balanced diet that often does not get a lot of attention is beverage consumption. This is one of the reasons there is not a lot of data available about beverage consumption [16][15][14]. Another reason for lack of conclusive data is that studies use different methods [5]. For clear insight more and structured research to beverage consumption and its effect on health and preventing disease is needed [3].

It is known that being hydrated is important for one’s health [17]. But how much one should drink is not very clear. There are some set rules that people tend to follow that consist of drinking a set amount of water a day [20]. These set rules do not take into account one’s surroundings, lifestyle, goals, experiences or preferences [15].

To be sufficiently hydrated one should be euhydrated [21]. One is euhydrated when the volume of water in the body is that which supports good health and function. This is different for every individual. When the euhydration level decreases with 2% or more, the body will be dehydrated and start showing performance inefficiencies. These inefficiencies are both physical and mental.

One way to know a person is dehydrated is that they have the sensation of thirst. Papers seem to not be conclusive on whether drinking according to thirst will keep an individual sufficiently hydrated [14][20]. Both sides do admit that the sensation of thirst gets influenced by environmental factors. They also admit that drinking according to thirst is not sufficient for athletes, military, hot environments, people who are ill, the elderly or infants [3].

But even for healthy individuals, it is reported that they are not sufficiently hydrated[13]. Because of the different research methods, the reported percentage of euhydrated individuals differs. One study found mild and overt hypertonicity was observed in 40%  and 20% in community-dwelling adults aged 20 to 90 years [19]. A cause of hypertonicity is dehydration. Another paper reported that roughly 60% of the population is euhydrated in daily life. The other 40% is either dehydrated or hyper hydrated[13]. Another paper states that the prevalence of dehydration in adults has been estimated to be 16–28 % depending on age [5].

Not being euhydrated can result in multiple unwanted consequences. These consequences show them self as inefficiencies in both the mental [1] and physical capability. It leads to decrements in physical performance, reduced endurance, increased fatigue, altered thermoregulatory capability, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort. Dehydration has a negative influence on cognitive function such as concentration, alertness and short-term memory [15]. It also has a negative influence on one’s mood [6]. These inefficiencies can have a great impact on the daily lives of individuals.

For my Final Master Project in the Constructive Design Research track, I will do research to how young adults can be motivated and activated to follow an euhydrated lifestyle.

I will specifically focus on young adults who do not live with their parents. During the transition from living at their parents home and going to live on their own, young adults make a lot of choices about their lifestyle that have a lasting impact on their future lifestyle and health [2]. I will focus on young adults who are in the contemplation or determination phase of The Transtheoretical model [16] when it comes to adopting an euhydrated lifestyle.

Though I want to put emphasis on euhydration I also will take the kind of beverages they drink into account during my research. Since it is important to drink enough but one should also be conscious of what it is they drink.


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