Water is critical for the survival of every person. But how people think about and consume water does vary - local habits and knowledge affect water consumption in specific ways.
Kantar TNS, a global market research company, and Nestle Waters published a survey on attitudes about water consumption looking specifically at seven countries: China, France, Italy, Mexico, the UK, the US and Turkey.
What are the main differences in water consumption and drinking habits among countries? What are the main reasons people cite for drinking or not drinking water? How is information about water and hydration habits perceived?
3,504 people were surveyed, about 500 people per country. Each sample was representative of a population aged 18 to 64 years (except for Mexico and Turkey, where the survey included anyone over 18 - and in China, where the surveyed population was aged 18 to 55 years old). Not surprisingly all respondents in every country defined drinking water as a daily habit.
Nine out of 10 participants say they drink water every day - mostly bottled water (59%) and tap water (44%) but also filtered water and water from drinking fountains (23% and 20%, respectively). The UK emerged is the smallest daily consumer of bottled water (39%) with Italy being the highest (81%). China stands out in the consumption of water from drinking fountains (48%), with a 20% average across all countries.
When respondents were asked which beverage they drink every day, the most popular beverage after water is milk for China and Mexico, and hot drinks for the other countries. Nevertheless, the consumption of water is much higher than for any other beverage: 68% of people drink at least 1 liter of water (of any kind) per day.
Regarding the other types of drinks consumed daily, 4 out of 10 participants drink at least 1 glass of soda per day on average, and sodas are consumed daily by 5 to 6 participants out of 10 in Turkey and Mexico. Sports and energy drinks are consumed daily by 1 out of 5 participants in Mexico, Turkey and China. However 96% of people reported consuming water all day long.
On average, 1 respondent in 4 often drinks water while driving, though the average rises to more than 1 in 3 in the US.
Drinking water, tap or bottled, is foremost a question of need for 93% of the respondents but the belief about the number of glasses needed per day differ between countries. Nevertheless, there seems to be a link in the mind of the respondents between the amount of water they think they should drink, and the amount of water they consumed.
--8.9 glasses daily was the amount an adult needs every day according to Turkey.
-8.5 glasses a day for Italy.
-6.1 glasses of water are needed per day for those in the UK.
Bottled water is consumed for health and safety reasons (93%), and because it is perceived to be “natural” (91% believed this); convenience is the main reason highlighted by tap water drinkers (88%).
Survey respondents felt that drinking water equates to a healthy lifestyle and maintenance for one’s health (94% for both). The respondents believe in water’s benefits to internal body functions: on average, the two main benefits put forward are the actions of water to flush out toxins, and to aid digestion.
On average, almost 1 out of 4 participants thought that drinking water was the same as drinking other beverages such as hot drinks, soda or fruit juice. The most credible advocates for water? Healthcare professionals 90% said, and scientists 88% responded positively. Family also plays a crucial role in promoting water consumption, especially in Mexico, Turkey, China and Italy. Prevention campaigns and schools are also considered credible (both with 77%).
Clearly there is misinformation about how exactly water improves your life and body functions, both with bottled water and tap water.
Personally I drink two liters daily and know that the effects of water are long term and healthy.
The good news about this study is that so many people worldwide are drinking water, more than I assumed. Now, if we can just cut back on sugary sodas and energy drinks…