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Global Health
March 21, 2012

Distance to Water Sources Affects Child Health

JAMA. 2012;307(11):1129. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.296

Reducing the time needed to haul water from source to home can improve the health of children younger than than 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa, report researchers from Stanford University, in Stanford, Calif (Pickering AJ and Davis J. Environ Sci Tech. 2012;46[4]:2391-2397).

The researchers analyzed data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (http://www.measuredhs.com/), conducted in 26 African countries from 1994 through 2009. The researchers found a direct correlation between the time it took to fetch water and the risk of illness and mortality among children. The scientists theorized that longer fetching times could mean that less water is retrieved and therefore less is available for hand washing and other hygienic activities, or it could mean less time to care for children.

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