According to a new study, kids are not drinking as much water as they should -- and this problem could really hurt them down the road.

Researchers found only 15 to 60 percent of boys and 10 to 54 percent of girls, depending on age, drink the recommended minimum amount of water.

And, children are getting much of their water from sweetened beverages rather than plain old water. But, water is king because those who drink the most plain water also consume fewer sugary beverages and eat fewer high-calorie foods.

Health officials say even mild dehydration affects physiological function, causing fatigue, muscle weakness and headaches. Even decreased mental performance has been linked to inadequate hydration.

Some advice ...

Give kids water instead of sweetened beverages during the day and between meals. To make it more appealing, put sliced cucumbers, oranges, lemons or strawberries in ice water.

If your child is hooked on sodas, transition to seltzer or flavored seltzers instead.