If you have a child you may not have noticed, you are more likely to die if you have too much to drink, say experts from Oxford University.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that for every 100 cases of a baby dying of dehydration, the death rate rose by 6.5 per cent.
Dr Andrew Skelton from Oxford said that was likely because the baby would have been exposed to more of the fluid as a result of the child being in the womb.
“If the baby is going to have a really high water requirement, we would expect to see the birth weight of the baby go up as a consequence of having a baby,” he said.
“That’s because of the fact that the baby needs to have as much blood as possible.”
So if you’re not having enough blood you’re also increasing the risk of having some sort of complication.
“The number one risk factor for the death of a newborn is not having a lot of blood.”
Dr Skelston said the study also showed that for the first time it was possible to show that the death was the result of a water shortage.
“It’s the first study to show the cause of death in a population in which the number of people drinking was so high,” he explained.
“We know from previous studies that it’s a combination of all the water-related complications that are associated with drinking too much water.”
Dr Andrew Smith from the University of Glasgow, said that while the study was not definitive, it did suggest that a lack of drinking water in a growing population was an important factor.
“You would think that if you could have a very healthy baby, you would expect the number and type of complications that might occur would be fairly low,” he told the BBC.
“However, the findings show that is not the case.”
This is a study that clearly shows that when you have very high numbers of people with a lot drinking, then the risk is quite high.
“Dr Smith said that although there was still much work to be done, the current study showed that more attention was being paid to the issue of drinking too little water.”
There are still some concerns around water in Australia but we’ve seen that it is not as prevalent in the population as it once was,” he added.”
In the US, for example, we’re seeing an increase in water consumption.
“Dr Jonathan Latham from the School of Public Health and Environment at Griffith University in Australia said that there were also other factors that could affect the number that died.”
When it comes to the effects of water use on a population, you don’t really know what’s causing the increase,” he noted.”
One thing we can look at is what’s happening to the overall water supply, what’s the extent of water in the system.
“And if there is a lot more water in there, then you could be putting more strain on the water system and the whole system, which could lead to further complications.”
Dr Latham added that there was a need for better data to understand what could be causing the problems in the developing world.
“With increasing numbers of young people moving to urban centres, we need better water data to better understand what is driving the growth in urbanisation and drinking in urban settings,” he concluded.
“Ultimately we need to have water in every single person’s body, so we need all of the data we can get.”
I think the focus on water use is misguided in terms of the world we live in.