CHICAGO, June 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- To help keep athletes safe and performing at their best during the hot summer months, The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), has partnered with top professional U.S. sports leagues, including the NFL, MLS, MLB and NBA for the Gatorade Beat the Heat educational campaign. In its 10th year, Gatorade Beat the Heat continues to raise awareness among athletes, parents and coaches on how proper hydration can help reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic activity. While dehydration is a risk across all types of youth sports during the hot summer months, research conducted by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) found that as many as 70 percent of high school football players showed up for practice inadequately hydrated. Additionally, research shows that dehydration or poor hydration increases the risk for heat illness. "Athletes often don't understand the amount of fluid they lose from sweating and how important it is to replace those lost fluids during workouts, practices and games," said Asker Jeukendrup, GSSI global senior director. "The Beat the Heat program gives us and these great partner organizations an opportunity to educate athletes, parents and coaches about the importance of proper hydration and safety measures while practicing and competing in the heat." As a part of Beat the Heat efforts, Gatorade worked with leading experts in hydration and heat safety to compile the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, an educational go-to resource for heat safety tips and advice. The Gatorade Heat Safety Kit provides easy-to-follow recommendations for athletes, parents and coaches alike to reduce the chances of heat illness this summer. The Gatorade Heat Safety Kit will be available for free download on gatorade.com, nfl.com, mlssoccer.com, mlb.com and nba.com. "The Beat the Heat program is important because of its focus on providing educational resources that aid in the prevention, recognition and treatment of heat-related illness during the summer sports season," said Douglas Casa, Ph.D., chief operating officer of the Korey Stringer Institute (KSI), which is housed at the University of Connecticut. "You can't change the weather but you can change how you prepare to practice or compete in hot weather. Athletes, parents and coaches do not know that heat-related illnesses are largely preventable with appropriate strategies related to hydration, acclimatization, fitness, cooling and practice modifications." "Athletes and coaches on all levels need to pay close attention to the warning signs of heat-related illnesses because safety should not be risked in the name of competition," said Roberta Anding, sports dietitian for the Houston Texans. "Drinks that contain electrolytes to help retain and regulate fluids are very important. The major electrolyte lost in sweat is sodium, so if your beverage does not contain sodium, it isn't a sports drink."