Changes in water intake of Northumbrian adolescents 1980 to 2000

Vida Zohouri, Andrew Rugg-Gunn, E S Fletcher, A. F. Hackett, Paula Moynihan, John Mathers, Ashley Adamson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Water is an important vehicle for fluoride and knowing the amount of fluoride ingested from fluoridated water is important for general and dental health.
    There is very little information on water intake in this country and world-wide. This study shows that water intake is less than commonly assumed. The present data show water intake to be similar to levels reported 20 years ago, but lower than some other countries.
    There has been a shift in the last 20 years to greater consumption of soft drinks and less consumption of milk and tea, in English adolescents. Objectives To determine: total water intake in young English adolescents; the relative importance of sources of water intake; and changes in water intake and sources of water between 1980 and 2000.

    Design: A cross-sectional observational study of the diets of 11–12-year-old children attending seven schools in south Northumberland, UK. The information obtained was compared with results from a similar survey carried out 20 years previously.

    Methods: All children attending these schools were invited to participate. They completed a three-day diet diary with an interview on the fourth day, on two occasions during the school year. Standard UK food composition tables were used and water intake from various sources calculated. Anthropometric and social class information was obtained.

    Results: Four hundred and twenty-four children completed all aspects of the study (64% of those eligible). The mean total water intake was 1,130 g d-1, approximately the same as that recorded 20 years before. Water intake in relation to energy intake: water intake was 139 g MJ-1 in boys and 143 g MJ-1 in girls. Sixty-five per cent of water came from drinks and 35% from foods; very similar to proportions 20 years before. The sources of water in drinks had changed considerably, with a marked increase in consumption of soft drinks (especially carbonated drinks) and a decrease in consumption of hot drinks and milk. There were a few differences between sexes but little difference between social groups.

    Conclusions: Total water intake was similar to that recorded 20 years previously and lower than intakes reported in other countries. Changes in the sources of water meant that less water consumed was likely to come from the tap in the house and more from drinks made elsewhere, than 20 years previously. These changes have implications for estimating fluoride intake in fluoridated areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)547-552
    JournalBritish Dental Journal
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2004


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