Background: Water consumption as a vital component of the human diet is under-researched in dietary surveys and nutrition studies.
Aim: To examine water consumption, dietary sources and sociodemographic, anthropometric and dietary correlates of water consumption among Australian population.
Methods: Day one dietary intake data from 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey were used. Water consumption was examined by age, sex, sociodemographic, anthropometric and dietary factors.
Results: The mean (standard deviation) total water intakes for children aged 2-18 years were 2.10 (0.92) L/d for boys and 1.89 (0.77) L/d for girls, and for adults aged 19 years and over were 3.24 (1.40) L/d for males and 2.77 (1.03) L/d for females. Total water consumption increased with age in children, but decreased with age in adults (P<0.0001). The contributions of drinking water, other beverages and food moisture to total water intake were 43-45%, 28-25% and 29-30%, respectively, among children and 35-40%, 39-35% and 26-25% among adults. Full fat plain milk, fruit juice, regular soft drinks, and fruit drinks were the most commonly consumed beverages among children while the major beverage sources consumed by adults were alcoholic drinks, coffee, tea, and regular soft drinks. Higher total water consumption was associated with higher energy, sodium, fibre, fruit and vegetable intakes in both children and adults. No association was found between water consumption and body mass index and waist circumference, but longer physical activity duration, higher socioeconomic status and education level were associated with higher total water consumption.
Conclusion: The study findings provide useful insights pertaining to Australian’s water consumption patterns and can serve as a useful resource for nutrition counselling, refinement of dietary guidelines and public health policies, and guidance for public health campaigns.