Decoding The Total Body Water

By      15-Jun 2019       Read Time: 5 Mins

Decoding The Total Body Water

All 3 together sound like bliss in a glass, right? Human bodies are made of approximately 50-75% of water but did you know that this proportion of water is not constant through life and it keeps varying. We bring to you a guide on decoding the body water content through various ages so that you keep a check on one of the major constituent of your body.

Total Body Water (TBW) – Most of the body water is in the intracellular fluid which makes around 2/3rd of total body water (55%). The other one third is in the extracellular fluid. Around 20% of body water is in the blood plasma (extracellular fluid). Rest of the water is known as interstitial and Trans cellular fluid (2.5%). There is also 7.5% of inaccessible bone water. Digestive juices are examples of digestive fluid.

TBW through various age groups is as mentioned below-

  • Infants- A new born human baby comprises of 93-75% of water, so it is true that humans begin their lives as tiny dewdrops. This is also the reason why infants are not supposed to be fed with water from birth till 6 months of age as they already have enough of it.
  • Kids- Children from the age of 2 years to 12 years have approximately a water content of 65%. Children need to maintain a higher level of TBW as they are more prone to volume depletion and dehydration.
  • Teenagers- Teenagers ageing from 13 to 18 years of age have approximately 62-65% of Total Body Water. In the teen years, the basal metabolic rate is generally higher and there is a higher turnover of fluids and solute. Significant dehydration during this age period can lead to severe loss in the volume. In fact, dehydration at this age can lead to rapid loss of sodium content which is harmful.
  • Adults- An average adult male has TBW of 60% while an average adult female has a TBW of 55%. This percentage is also dependent of height, age, climate, activity levels, and water intake.

Calculation of Total Body Water

TBW = weight x C

C is a coefficient

Adult males, C= 0.6
Adult females, C = 0.5

Elderly Age- With age, the percentage of body water also starts depleting, with an average elderly person having 50% of Total Body Water. The amount of body water decreases by approximately 15% (about 6 L) between the ages of 20 and 80. This is because as humans age, they tend to lose on tissue mass that leads to widespread loss of water gradually. But, it is a part of the ageing process.

Requirement of Hydration- Regardless of what your age is, you need to maintain constant water levels. For a healthy adult, it is recommended to intake at least 2.5 to 3 litres of water on a daily basis. Water performs various essential functions like

  • Transport of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body
  • Maintenance of body temperature
  • Digestion
  • Flushing of waste through kidneys
  • Lubrication of joints
  • Overall good health and glowing skin

Over to you

Did you know when you feel thirsty your body is actually dehydrated because of loss of your body water to sweating or other forms of dehydration? Make water intake a routine habit so that your thirst levels are better managed. Spread the word!


About Author

Your body is merely a reflection of your lifestyle. All you need to do is practice mindfulness when it comes to your well-being.
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Dr. Shaili Tomar

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