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What Do Indian Children Drink When They Do Not Receive Water? Prevalence of Water and Alternative Beverage Consumption From the 2005-2006 Indian National Family Health Survey

  • 2014
  • Working Paper
Fledderjohann, Jasmine; Doyle, Pat; Campbell, Oona; Ebrahim, Shah; Basu, Sanjay & Stuckler, David

Abstract: Over 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water globally. However, little is known about what children drink when there is no clean water. We examined what Indian children who receive no water drink. We estimated the prevalence of children’s water and beverage consumption using nationally representative data from the latest available India’s National Family and Health Survey (NFHS-3, years 2005-2006). Consumption was based on mothers’ reports for living children who were aged 6-59 months. About 10% of Indian children aged 6 to 59 months had not drunk water in the last 24 hours based on mothers’ reports, corresponding to 2,700,000 children nationally, 95% CI: 12,260,000 to 13,200,000). Among children who had had no water, 23% received breast milk or fresh milk and 24% consumed either formula, “other liquid”, juice, or two or more beverages. About 2.6% received caffeinated beverages only, while around 14% received caffeinated beverages along with breast and/or fresh milk. Children in less deprived households had lower risks of not receiving water. Those living in households using well water or river, spring, or rain water were also less likely to receive water compared to those in households with either bottled, piped, or tanker water. Access to daily water is not assured for about 13 million Indian children under age 5. Further research is needed to assess the risks potentially arising from insufficient water, dehydration, caffeinated beverages, and high sugar drinks at early stages of life.

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