Appropriate hydration is essential for health and well-being. In Europe, water consumption patterns vary despite the unlimited availability of this resource. Water constitutes the largest proportion of total fluid intake in most countries. According to the 2008 European Food Safety Authority’s Concise Food Consumption Database, tap water consumption was highest in the northern European countries and in Austria. While Germany had a particularly low intake of tap water, it led in consumption of fruit and vegetable juices, soft drinks, and especially bottled water. European nutrition surveys generally report an average fluid intake within the recommended range of 1500-2000 mL/day, with higher intake levels corresponding with increasing frequency of intake. However, some population groups consume less than others, e.g., the elderly who are at higher risk for dehydration due to age-related increased urinary fluid losses. In turn, physical activity is associated with higher beverage consumption as is adherence to a health-conscious diet. While water constitutes the most commonly consumed beverage throughout Europe, drinking patterns and quantities vary and are influenced by a variety of factors, including age, gender, diet, and physical activity level.
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