• Christina Hecht, PhD, Senior Policy Advisor

New Review: How to Improve Drinking Water Safety, Access & 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 often present challenges to making water the beverage of choice. A new article, published by the journal Annual Review of Nutrition, reviews evidence for this through a socioecological lens—considering the complex web of individual, relationship, community and societal factors that influence water consumption.

The paper explores intake of drinking water in the U.S. compared to requirements across age and racial/ethnic groups, showing that most people do not drink enough plain water. It describes U.S. 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. The paper concludes with recommendations for research, policies, regulations and practices that are needed to ensure optimal water intake by all.

The review was published online in September 2020. Authors include Anisha Patel of Stanford Medicine Division of General Pediatrics, Christina Hecht and Lorrene Ritchie of University of California Nutrition Policy Institute, Angie Cradock of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Marc Edwards of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.



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