Sociodemographic characteristics and beverage intake of children who drink tap water

Anisha I. Patel, Daniel J. Shapiro, Y. Claire Wang, Michael D. Cabana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background Tap water provides a calorie-free, no-cost, environmentally friendly beverage option, yet only some youth drink it. Purpose To examine sociodemographic characteristics, weight status, and beverage intake of those aged 1-19 years who drink tap water. Methods National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data (2005-2010) were used to examine factors associated with tap water consumption. A comparison was made of beverage intake among tap water consumers and nonconsumers, by age, race/ethnicity, and income. Results Tap water consumption was more prevalent among school-aged children (OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.47, 2.33, for those aged 6-11 years; OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.32, 2.59, for those aged 12-19 years) as compared to those aged 1-2 years. Tap water intake was less prevalent among girls/women (OR=0.76, 95% CI=0.64, 0.89); Mexican Americans (OR=0.32, 95% CI=0.23, 0.45); non-Hispanic blacks (OR=0.48, 95% CI=0.34, 0.67); and others (OR=0.50, 95% CI=0.36, 0.68) as compared to whites; Spanish speakers (OR=0.72, 95% CI=0.55, 0.95); and among referents with a lower than Grade-9 education (OR=0.52, 95% CI=0.31, 0.88); Grade 9-11 education (OR=0.50, 95% CI=0.32, 0.77); and high school/General Educational Development test completion (OR=0.50, 95% CI=0.33, 0.76), as compared to college graduates. Tap water consumers drank more fluid (52.5 vs 48.0 ounces, p<0.01); more plain water (20.1 vs 15.2 ounces, p<0.01); and less juice (3.6 vs 5.2 ounces, p<0.01) than nonconsumers. Conclusions One in six children/adolescents does not drink tap water, and this finding is more pronounced among minorities. Sociodemographic disparities in tap water consumption may contribute to disparities in health outcomes. Improvements in drinking water infrastructure and culturally relevant promotion may help to address these issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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