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What do Indian children drink when they do not receive water? Statistical analysis of water and alternative beverage consumption from the 2005–2006 Indian National Family Health Survey
Authors: Jasmine Fledderjohann, Pat Doyle, Oona Campbell, Shah Ebrahim, Sanjay Basu, and David Stuckler
Source: BMC Public Health, 15:612 doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1946-4
Topic(s): Child health
Water supply
Country: Asia
Published: JUL 2015
Abstract: Background Over 1.2 billion people lack access to clean water. However, little is known about what children drink when there is no clean water. We investigated the prevalence of receiving no water and what Indian children drink instead. Methods We analysed children’s beverage consumption using representative data from India’s National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-3, 2005–2006). Consumption was based on mothers’ reports (n?=?22,668) for children aged 6–59 months (n?=?30,656). Results About 10 % of Indian children had no water in the last 24 h, corresponding to 12,700,000 children nationally, (95 % CI: 12,260,000 to 13,200,000). Among children who received no water, 23 % received breast or fresh milk and 24 % consumed formula, “other liquid”, juice, or two or more beverages. Children over 2 were more likely to consume non-milk beverages, including tea, coffee, and juice than those under 2 years. Those in the lowest two wealth quintiles were 16 % less likely to have received water (OR?=?0.84; 95 % CI: 0.74 to 0.96). Compared to those living in households with bottled, piped, or tanker water, children were significantly less likely to receive water in households using well water (OR?=?0.75; 95 % CI: 0.64 to 0.89) or river, spring, or rain water (OR?=?0.70; 95 % CI: 0.53 to 0.92) in the last 24 h. Conclusions About 13 million Indian children aged 6–59 months received no water in the last 24 h. Further research is needed to assess the risks potentially arising from insufficient water, caffeinated beverages, and high sugar drinks at early stages of life.