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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Water and beverage consumption among adults in the United States: cross-sectional study using data from NHANES 2005–2010

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, Paris 75013, France

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

3 Nestle Waters France12 boulevard Garibaldi, Issy-les-Moulineaux 92130, France

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1068  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1068

Published: 12 November 2013

Abstract

Background

Few studies have examined plain water consumption among US adults. This study evaluated the consumption of plain water (tap and bottled) and total water among US adults by age group (20-50y, 51-70y, and ≥71y), gender, income-to-poverty ratio, and race/ethnicity.

Methods

Data from up to two non-consecutive 24-hour recalls from the 2005–2006, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was used to evaluate usual intake of water and water as a beverage among 15,702 US adults. The contribution of different beverage types (e.g., water as a beverage [tap or bottled], milk [including flavored], 100% fruit juice, soda/soft drinks [regular and diet], fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages) to total water and energy intakes was examined. Total water intakes from plain water, beverages, and food were compared to the Adequate Intake (AI) values from the US Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). Total water volume per 1,000 kcal was also examined.

Results

Water and other beverages contributed 75-84% of dietary water, with 17-25% provided by water in foods, depending on age. Plain water, from tap or bottled sources, contributed 30-37% of total dietary water. Overall, 56% of drinking water volume was from tap water while bottled water provided 44%. Older adults (≥71y) consumed much less bottled water than younger adults. Non-Hispanic whites consumed the most tap water, whereas Mexican-Americans consumed the most bottled water. Plain water consumption (bottled and tap) tended to be associated with higher incomes. On average, younger adults exceeded or came close to satisfying the DRIs for water. Older men and women failed to meet the Institute of Medicine (IOM) AI values, with a shortfall in daily water intakes of 1218 mL and 603 mL respectively. Eighty-three percent of women and 95% of men ≥71y failed to meet the IOM AI values for water. However, average water volume per 1,000 kcal was 1.2-1.4 L/1,000 kcal for most population sub-groups, higher than suggested levels of 1.0 L/1.000 kcal.

Conclusions

Water intakes below IOM-recommended levels may be a cause for concern, especially for older adults.

Keywords:
Water intake; Drinking water; Adequate hydration; Adults; Beverages; Dietary surveillance