Water intake: validity of population assessment and recommendations

Eur J Nutr. 2015 Jun;54 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):11-6. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0944-8. Epub 2015 Jun 6.


Good hydration is vital for good health and well-being. Until recently, there was little interest in collecting data on water and drink and beverage intake. However, there is increasing evidence that a low water intake or mild dehydration may be linked with the risk of chronic diseases. Accurate estimates of intake in populations are essential to explore these relationships. This will enable the identification of specific populations at the risk of low water intake and allow exposure assessment of potential contaminates and specific nutrients present in drinks and beverages. In addition, data from these population studies are used as the basis of national and international recommendations on water intake and to set and evaluate national health policies. For example, EFSA based their recommendations on data from population studies from 13 European countries. The range of intakes varied from 720 to 2621 mL/day; this diversity cannot be explained by environmental differences alone. However, this variability may, at least partially, be explained by the inconsistency in methodologies used as none of surveys used a dietary assessment tool validated for total water intake or beverage and drink intake. It is reasonable to suggest that this may result in incomplete data collection and it raises questions on the validity of the recommendations. The relationship between water consumption and health warrants further investigation, and robust methodologies are essential to ensure that these data are accurate and useful for setting public health priorities and policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / analysis
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Dehydration / etiology
  • Dehydration / prevention & control*
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Drinking*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Food Analysis
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Water / administration & dosage
  • Water / analysis


  • Water