Lead author of the study, William Checkley, MD, PhD, an associate in the Department of International Health at the School, said, "The public health challenges of unsafe water and inadequate sanitation have plagued humanity for centuries, and will continue to do so unless governments make water and sanitation infrastructure improvements one of their first priorities. The poor in most of the developing world either pay more for their access to water or have to travel further distances to obtain water."
Between April 1995 and December 1998 researchers recruited 230 children at birth from Pampas de San Juan, a community in Lima, Peru, to assess the effects of water and sanitation on linear growth, diarrheal disease and prevalence of parasites. Follow up with the children was done once a day for diarrhea and once a month for height measurements. Household water and sanitation levels were obtained at the initial recruitment of the children.
Children, at 2 years of age, with the worst conditions for water source, water storage and sanitation were found to be 1 cm shorter and had 54 percent more diarrheal incidents than those children with the best conditions. A height deficit of 0.9 cm was also associated with a lack of adequate sewage disposal. The researchers found that a better water source alone did not provide full health benefits. Those children with a water c
Contact: Kenna Brigham
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health