Water consumption beliefs and practices in a rural Latino community: Implications for fluoridation

Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0850, USA.
Journal of Public Health Dentistry (Impact Factor: 1.65). 09/2010; 70(4):337-43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2010.00193.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Adequate fluoride exposure is especially important for those experiencing disproportionately high prevalence of dental caries, such as rural Latino farm-workers and their children. Water is an important source of fluoride. This qualitative study examined water consumption beliefs and practices among Latino parents of young children in a rural community.
Focus groups and open-ended in-depth interviews explored parents beliefs about tap water, beverage preferences, and knowledge of fluoride. A questionnaire documented socio-demographic characteristics and water consumption practices. Qualitative analysis revealed how water-related beliefs, social and cultural context, and local environment shaped participants' water consumption.
The vast majority of participants (n = 46) avoided drinking unfiltered tap water based on perceptions that it had poor taste, smell, and color, bolstered by a historically justified and collectively transmitted belief that the public water supply is unsafe. Water quality reports are not accessible to many community residents, all of whom use commercially bottled or filtered water for domestic consumption. Most participants had little knowledge of fluoride beyond a general sense it was beneficial. While most participants expressed willingness to drink fluoridated water, many emphatically stated that they would do so only if it tasted, looked, and smelled better and was demonstrated to be safe.
Perceptions about water quality and safety have important implications for adequate fluoride exposure. For vulnerable populations, technical reports of water safety have not only to be believed and trusted but matched or superseded by experience before meaningful change will occur in people's water consumption habits.

8 Reads
  • Source
    • "Hydration and HRI-related cultural beliefs and practices in Latino farmworkers may affect the prevention and treatment of HRI. Previous studies in Latino communities have described distrust in the municipal water supply and of water provided in opaque containers, where the contents and cleanliness of water is difficult to determine [16-18]. In a qualitative study of farmworkers in Washington State, farmworkers expressed a belief that a cold shower should be avoided immediately after heat exposure, as cold water on a hot body could cause pain in the bones and joints [17]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Heat-related illness (HRI) is an important cause of non-fatal illness and death in farmworkers. We sought to identify potential barriers to HRI prevention and treatment in Latino farmworkers. We conducted three semi-structured focus group discussions with 35 Latino farmworkers in the Central Washington, USA area using participatory rural appraisal techniques. Interviews were audio taped and transcribed in Spanish. Three researchers reviewed and coded transcripts and field notes, and investigator triangulation was used to identify relevant themes and quotes. Although the majority of participants in our study reported never receiving formal HRI training, most participants were aware that extreme heat can cause illness and were able to accurately describe HRI symptoms, risk factors, and certain prevention strategies. Four main observations regarding farmworkers' HRI-relevant beliefs and attitudes were identified: 1) farmworkers subscribe to varying degrees to the belief that cooling treatments should be avoided after heat exposure, with some believing that such treatments should be avoided after heat exposure, and others encouraging the use of such treatments; 2) the desire to lose weight may be reflected in behaviors that promote increased sweating; 3) highly caffeinated energy drinks are preferred to increase work efficiency and maintain alertness; and 4) the location of drinking water at work (e.g. next to restrooms) and whether water is clean, but not necessarily chemically-treated, are important considerations in deciding whether to drink the water provided at worksites. We identified potential barriers to HRI prevention and treatment related to hydration, certain HRI treatments, clothing use, and the desire to lose weight among Latino farmworkers. Strategies to address potential barriers to HRI prevention and treatment in this population may include engineering, administrative, and health education and health promotion strategies at individual, workplace, community, and societal levels. Although farmworkers in our study were able to describe HRI risk factors, reported practices were not necessarily consistent with reported knowledge. Further study of potential knowledge-behavior gaps may uncover opportunities for additional HRI prevention strategies. Farmworkers and employers should be included in the development and evaluation of interventions to prevent HRI.
    BMC Public Health 10/2013; 13(1):1004. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1004 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The last decade has seen an increasing trend in consumer preference of bottled water over tap water. Little is known what type of water children and adolescents prefer for drinking and what their parents think of their community tap water. The study objective was to assess drinking water preferences, perceptions of the qualities of tap water and bottled water, and fluoride knowledge in an urban pediatric population. We conducted an anonymous survey of a convenience sample of caretakers of children and adolescents at an urban clinic regarding their preferences for tap or bottled water, their perceptions of the quality of tap and bottled water and their knowledge of fluoride. Of the 208 participants (79% African American, 9% Latino), 59% drank tap water, 80% bottled water. Only 17% drank tap water exclusively, 38% drank bottled water exclusively, 42% drank both. We found no significant differences in water preferences across age groups, from infancy to adulthood, or among ethnic groups. Ratings for taste, clarity, purity and safety were significantly higher for bottled water than tap water (P < 0.001). Only 24% were aware of fluoride in drinking water. We conclude bottled water was preferred over tap water in an urban minority pediatric population. Perceptions of the qualities of water seemed to drive drinking preferences. Public health strategies are needed to increase public awareness of the impact of bottled water consumption on oral health, household budgets and the environment.
    Journal of Community Health 06/2011; 37(1):54-8. DOI:10.1007/s10900-011-9415-1 · 1.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To describe bottled water use and beliefs and attitudes about water among parents of children from different racial/ethnic groups. Cross-sectional survey. Urban/suburban emergency department. Parents of children treated between September 2009 and March 2010. The respondents completed a questionnaire in English or Spanish, describing their use of bottled water and tap water for their children and rating their agreement with a series of belief statements about bottled water and tap water. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between bottled water use and beliefs and demographic characteristics with odds ratios (ORs). A total of 632 surveys were completed (35% white, 33% African American, and 32% Latino respondents). African American and Latino parents were more likely to give their children mostly bottled water; minority children were exclusively given bottled water 3 times more often than non-Latino white children (24% vs 8%, P < .01). In logistic regression analysis, the following factors were independently associated with mostly bottled water use: belief that bottled water is safer (OR, 2.4), cleaner (OR, 2.0), better tasting (OR, 2.8), or more convenient (OR, 1.7). After other factors were adjusted for, race/ethnicity, household income, and prior residence outside the United States were not associated with bottled water use. Minority parents are more likely to exclusively give bottled water to their children. Disparities in bottled water use are driven largely by differences in beliefs and perceptions about water. Interventions to reduce bottled water use among minority families should be based on knowledge of the factors that are related to water use in these communities.
    JAMA Pediatrics 06/2011; 165(10):928-32. DOI:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.83 · 5.73 Impact Factor
Show more