New review by NPI researchers on how to improve drinking water safety, access and consumption in the US

Plain water is recommended to replace sugar-sweetened beverages to support health, yet concerns about tap water safety and barriers to access present challenges to making water the beverage of choice. In a new article, Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers and collaborators review evidence through a socioecological lens – considering the complex web of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors that influence water consumption. The paper reviews intake of drinking water in the US compared to requirements across age and racial/ethnic groups showing that most people do not drink enough plain water. It describes US regulations that support safe drinking water as well as strategies to reduce drinking water exposure to lead. Programs, policies, and environmental interventions that support access to safe and appealing drinking water, which is necessary to improve water intake, are also discussed, concluding with recommendations for research, policies, regulations, and practices needed to ensure optimal water intake by all. The review was published online in September 2020 by the journal Annual Review of Nutrition. Authors include Anisha Patel of Stanford Medicine Division of General Pediatrics, NPI researchers Christina Hecht and Lorrene Ritchie, Angie Cradock of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Marc Edwards of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Policy Analyst | Nutrition Policy Institute