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Open Access Research

Water and beverage consumption among children age 4-13y in the United States: analyses of 2005–2010 NHANES data

Adam Drewnowski12*, Colin D Rehm2 and Florence Constant3

Author Affiliations

1 Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47 boulevard de l’Hopital, 75013 Paris, France

2 Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, Box 353410, 98195 Seattle, WA, USA

3 Nestlé Waters France, 12 boulevard Garibaldi, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:85  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-85

Published: 19 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Few studies have examined water consumption patterns among US children. Additionally, recent data on total water consumption as it relates to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) are lacking. This study evaluated the consumption of plain water (tap and bottled) and other beverages among US children by age group, gender, income-to-poverty ratio, and race/ethnicity. Comparisons were made to DRI values for water consumption from all sources.

Methods

Data from two non-consecutive 24-hour recalls from 3 cycles of NHANES (2005–2006, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010) were used to assess water and beverage consumption among 4,766 children age 4-13y. Beverages were classified into 9 groups: water (tap and bottled), plain and flavored milk, 100% fruit juice, soda/soft drinks (regular and diet), fruit drinks, sports drinks, coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Total water intakes from plain water, beverages, and food were compared to DRIs for the US. Total water volume per 1,000 kcal was also examined.

Results

Water and other beverages contributed 70-75% of dietary water, with 25-30% provided by moisture in foods, depending on age. Plain water, tap and bottled, contributed 25-30% of total dietary water. In general, tap water represented 60% of drinking water volume whereas bottled water represented 40%. Non-Hispanic white children consumed the most tap water, whereas Mexican-American children consumed the most bottled water. Plain water consumption (bottled and tap) tended to be associated with higher incomes. No group of US children came close to satisfying the DRIs for water. At least 75% of children 4-8y, 87% of girls 9-13y, and 85% of boys 9-13y did not meet DRIs for total water intake. Water volume per 1,000 kcal, another criterion of adequate hydration, was 0.85-0.95 L/1,000 kcal, short of the desirable levels of 1.0-1.5 L/1,000 kcal.

Conclusions

Water intakes at below-recommended levels may be a cause for concern. Data on water and beverage intake for the population and by socio-demographic group provides useful information to target interventions for increasing water intake among children.

Keywords:
Drinking water; Water consumption; Children; Adequate hydration; Beverages; Dietary surveillance