If you think that sport drinks like Gatorade provide your child with a healthy alternative to sugary drinks like pop or Kool-aid, consider this article from LiveStrong on the health risks of Gatorade.
Critics say Gatorade and other sport drinks contain enough sugar to cause significant weight gain. The levels of sodium – salt – are also considered very high, and sodium can lead to high blood pressure.
The same article points out that the levels of sodium are excessive for students who are sedentary. The sodium content in sport drinks is intended to replace the salt you lose through activity and perspiration. But if you aren’t active and sweating you are probably consuming too much salt.
That article also points out that most of the things that you want in a sports drink (i.e., carbohydrates, minerals) are already present in a balanced diet.
What to do? If your child is not competing or training intensely in hot conditions for an hour or more, they can probably satisfy their hydration needs with good ol’ fashioned water.