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  1. ABSTRACT Water security is a powerful concept that is still in its early days in the field of nutrition. Given the prevalence and severity of water issues and the many interconnections between water and nutrition, we argue that water security deserves attention commensurate with its importance to human nutrition and health. To this end, we first give a brief introduction to water insecurity and discuss its conceptualization in terms of availability, access, use, and stability. We then lay out the empirical grounding for its assessment. Parallels to the food-security literature are drawn throughout, both because the concepts are analogous and food security is familiar to the nutrition community. Specifically, we review the evolution of scales to measure water and food security and compare select characteristics. We then review the burgeoning evidence for the causes and consequences of water insecurity and conclude with 4 recommendations: 1) collect more water-insecurity data (i.e., on prevalence, causes, consequences, and intervention impacts); 2) collect better data on water insecurity (i.e., measure it concurrently with food security and other nutritional indicators, measure intrahousehold variation, and establish baseline indicators of both water and nutrition before interventions are implemented); 3) consider food and water issues jointly in policymore »and practice (e.g., establish linkages and possibilities for joint interventions, recognize the environmental footprint of nutritional guidelines, strengthen the nutrition sensitivity of water-management practices, and use experience-based scales for improving governance and regulation across food and water systems); and 4) make findings easily available so that they can be used by the media, community organizations, and other scientists for advocacy and in governance (e.g., tracking progress towards development goals and holding implementers accountable). As recognition of the importance of water security grows, we hope that so too will the prioritization of water in nutrition research, funding, and policy.« less
  2. Introduction Water fetching for household needs can cause injury, but documentation of the burden of harm globally has been limited. We described the frequency, characteristics and correlates of water-fetching injuries in 24 sites in 21 low-income and middle-income countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Methods In a survey of 6291 randomly selected households, respondents reported whether and how they had experienced water-fetching injuries. Responses were coded for injury type, mechanism, bodily location and physical context. We then identified correlates of injury using a multilevel, mixed-effects logistic regression model. Results Thirteen per cent of respondents reported at least one water-fetching injury. Of 879 injuries, fractures and dislocations were the most commonly specified type (29.2%), and falls were the most commonly specified mechanism (76.4%). Where specified, 61.1% of injuries occurred to the lower limbs, and dangerous terrain (69.4%) was the most frequently reported context. Significant correlates included being female (aOR=1.50, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.96); rural (aOR=4.80, 95% CI 2.83 to 8.15) or periurban residence (aOR=2.75, 95% CI 1.64 to 4.60); higher household water insecurity scores (aOR=1.09, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.10) and reliance on surface water (aOR=1.97, 95% CI 1.21 to 3.22) or off-premise water sources thatmore »required queueing (aOR=1.72, 95% CI 1.19 to 2.49). Conclusion These data suggest that water-fetching injuries are an underappreciated and largely unmeasured public health challenge. We offer guidelines for comprehensive data collection on injuries to better capture the true burden of inadequate water access. Such data can guide the design of interventions to reduce injury risk and promote equitable water access solutions.« less
  3. ABSTRACT Background Household food insecurity (FI) and water insecurity (WI) are prevalent public health issues that can co-occur. Few studies have concurrently assessed their associations with health outcomes, particularly among people living with HIV. Objectives We aimed to investigate the associations between FI and WI and how they relate to physical and mental health. Methods Food-insecure adult smallholder farmers living with HIV in western Kenya were recruited to participate in a cluster-randomized controlled trial of a multisectoral agricultural and asset loan intervention. We used baseline data on experiences of FI (using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, range: 0–27) and WI (using a modified scale developed for this region, range: 0–51) in the prior month (n = 716). Outcomes included probable depression (using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist), fatigue and diarrhea in the prior month, and overall mental and physical health (using the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey, range: 0–100). We first assessed Pearson correlations between FI, WI, and sociodemographic characteristics. We then developed 3 regressions for each health outcome (control variables and FI; control variables and WI; control variables, FI, and WI) and compared model fit indexes. Results Correlations between household FI, WI, and wealth were low, meaning they measure distinctmore »constructs. FI and WI were associated with numerous physical and mental health outcomes; accounting for both resource insecurities typically provided the best model fit. For instance, when controlling for FI, each 10-point higher WI score was associated with a 6.42-point lower physical health score (P < 0.001) and 2.92 times greater odds of probable depression (P < 0.001). Conclusions Assessing both FI and WI is important for correctly estimating their relation with health outcomes. Interventions that address food- and water-related issues among persons living with HIV concurrently will likely be more effective at improving health than those addressing a single resource insecurity. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02815579.« less