H4H Initiative Pilots iPhone App in the UK to Promote Healthy Hydration

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‘Thirsty Pete’ app in the UK launched to engage, educate and entertain as part of a pilot programme - The Hydration for Health Initiative sponsored by Danone Waters has launched ‘Thirsty Pete’ the first iPhone app created to promote healthy hydration as a pilot programme in the UK.

'Thirsty Pete' iPhone App


Developed as an engaging soft learning tool, ‘Thirsty Pete’ represents an innovative solution to promote public awareness of the importance of healthy hydration, and encourage behavioural change through game dynamics that demonstrate the physical and mental benefits of adequate hydration. The character, ‘Thirsty Pete’, is an interactive water droplet and a font of knowledge on water and healthy hydration. After downloading ‘Thirsty Pete’ to their iPhones, users must care for him by correctly answering quiz questions to obtain virtual glasses of water. If he isn’t adequately hydrated, he becomes increasingly unhappy and ultimately ‘evaporates’. Users are rewarded for keeping Pete healthy and are given advice to help ensure they also stay well hydrated.

As well as quizzes and other features, there is also a ‘Wee Checker’ where users can monitor Pete’s hydration status - the darker the colour, the more concentrated the wee and the more dehydrated he is. This element is based upon the Hydration Color Chart developed by Professor Lawrence E. Armstrong.


Despite the known benefits of adequate hydration and that it’s essential for normal bodily function, many people still may not drink enough fluids[1,2]. Recent surveys suggest that many people, including children, do not drink enough[3]. A UK survey demonstrated that 40% of 11- to 18-year-old children drink less than 1.2 litres per day[4], compared with EFSA guidance on adequate intakes of 2.1 litres and 1.9 litres per day for 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls, respectively[5]. In fact, it’s not uncommon for school children to go for 6 or 7 hours without a single drink[1].

Short-term consequences of dehydration include impaired physical and cognitive performance, headaches, raised heart rate and blood pressure. In the long term, it is associated with a range of serious conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones and periodontal disease.

More positively, a recently published study showed that a relatively simple but comprehensive educational intervention programme proved successful for enhancing hydration status in just two days that resulted in improved physical endurance in exercising children[6].

With its mission of establishing healthy hydration as an integral part of public health nutritional guidelines and routine patient counselling, so that people can make informed choices, the H4H Initiative aims to encourage more widespread advocacy of healthy hydration to the general public.

With the UK pilot of the ‘Thirsty Pete’ iPhone app it is hoped that, by making learning about healthy hydration entertaining and fun, this innovative approach to healthy hydration advice and can help to address the potential long-term health risks associated with poor hydration choices.

For more information, visit http://www.h4hinitiative.com

‘Thirsty Pete’ is currently only available in the UK. Further information on the success and key learnings of the UK pilot programme will follow. To view a demonstration video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNa-acYJlKk

UK residents can download ‘Thirsty Pete’ at http://www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-iphone

1.             Petraccia L, et al. Water, mineral waters and health. Clin Nutr 2006;25:377-85.
2.    Bennett J, et al. Unrecognized chronic dehydration in older adults: examining prevalence rate and risk factors. J Gerontol Nurs. 2004;30:22-8.
3.    Brander N. Drinking water in schools. Nurs Times 2003;99:50-1.
4.    Gregory J, Lowe S. National Diet and Nutrition Survey: young people aged 4 to 18 years. Vol 1. Report of the diet and nutrition survey 2000, Office of the Population Censuses and Surveys. Social Survey Division, HMSO, London.
5.    European Food Safety Authority, Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies. Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. EFSA Journal 8(3):1459-1507, 2010.
6.    Kavouras SA, et al. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2011.

The H4H Initiative mission is to establish healthy hydration as an integral part of public health nutritional guidelines and routine patient counselling so people can make informed choices. A primary challenge of the H4H Initiative is to communicate the fundamental need for healthcare policymakers and practitioners to proactively provide healthy hydration advice.

Hydration for Health Hub blogs are hosted on the official H4H Initiative website, http://www.h4hinitiative.com, which is for healthcare professionals only. Launched in July 2010, the website is an online resource with practical tools and extensive coverage of the science behind healthy hydration. As well as important insights into the role of healthy hydration in combating obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases, it also includes information on the benefits of increased water intake on performance, reducing the risk of kidney stones and intake guidance for different patient groups.

H4H Initiative Secretariat
Email to: [email protected]

Danone Waters is the water division of Group Danone. Major worldwide brands include Evian, Badoit and Volvic. Danone is convinced that diet is the prime vehicle for building and preserving the body’s health resources. All of Danone’s R&D efforts rely on the ability of the scientific teams to ensure that each product starts with high-quality ingredients and has a unique benefit in terms of health, nutrition or enjoyment. R&D competencies are united under DANONE RESEARCH, a worldwide organization present in around 15 countries. This organization is comprised of 1,160 employees and has engaged in close to 200 global scientific partnerships. Danone has activities in four core business areas including: Fresh Dairy Products (#1 worldwide), waters (#2 worldwide in bottled waters), Baby Foods (#2 worldwide) and Medical Nutrition. 2007 sales reached a record 12.7 billion Euros.

Danone is a Fortune 500 company and one of the most successful healthy food companies in the world. Its mission is to bring health through tasty, nutritious and affordable food and beverage products to as many people as possible. Fulfilling this mission is a major contributor to the Group’s continuous fast growth. Danone, with 160 plants and around 80,000 employees, has a presence in all five continents and over 120 countries. In 2008, Danone recorded €15.2 billion sales. Danone enjoys leading positions in healthy food in four businesses: fresh dairy products (no.1 worldwide), waters (no. 2 in the packaged water market), baby nutrition (no. 2 worldwide) and medical nutrition. Listed on Euronext Paris, Danone is also ranked among the main index of social responsibility: Dow Jones Sustainability Index Stoxx and World, ASPI Eurozone and Ethibel Sustainability index.


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