[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 18-Jun-2009
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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2165
BioMed Central

People think bottled water is healthy ... sort of

A small study has shown that people tend to believe that bottled water is somehow healthier than water from the tap. However, the research, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, also shows that people are unsure exactly what these benefits might be and that they are rarely the main reason for choosing bottled.

Lorna Ward led a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham who carried out interviews with users of the University's sports centre. She said: "The majority of participants believed that bottled water has some health benefits, but that they were not necessarily significant or superior to the benefits provided by tap water. Convenience and taste were more influential factors for participants when deciding to buy a bottle of water".

Bottled water was described as being more 'pure' than tap water, and was also described as containing more 'minerals'. As one respondent put it,

""I mean I know it's good but I'm not sure why it's good"

However, most participants expressed doubts as to the extent of the health benefits of bottled water compared with tap water, believing that bottled water did have health benefits, but that these benefits were negligible. The most commonly cited reason for purchasing bottled water was convenience. The researchers conclude that, "Our results suggest that the recent surge in bottled water consumption may not be motivated by beliefs about health benefits associated with bottled water".

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Notes to Editors

1. Health beliefs about bottled water: a qualitative study
Lorna A Ward, Owen L Cain, Ryan A Mullaly, Kathryn S Holliday, Aaron G Wernham, Paul D Baillie and Sheila M Greenfield
BMC Public Health (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1213209258219704_article.pdf?random=466095
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcpublichealth/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. BMC Public Health is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community. BMC Public Health (ISSN 1471-2458) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Current Contents, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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