198509 Latino tap water drinking practices in an urban fluoridated community: Beliefs and implications

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 8:45 AM

Rosalia A. Mendoza, MD, MPH , Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Howard F. Pollick, BDS, MPH , School of Dentistry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Jane A. Weintraub, DDS, MPH , Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Judith C. Barker, PhD , Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine; Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health (CAN DO), University of California - San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Objective: To understand San Francisco (SF) fluoridated tap water (TW) drinking practices and beliefs held by immigrant Latino caregivers of young children.

Methods: A convenience sample was recruited of 17 Latina caregivers of children 0 to 5 years were recruited from two community-based health centers in an urban community in Northern California. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted using semi-structured interview guides containing open-ended questions, and prompts. Qualitative analysis included the review of transcripts, development of a code book, and analysis of emerging themes using Atlas.ti software.

Results: Data reveals a preference for bottle water (BW) usage amongst Latino households regardless of country of origin or length of time in the US. There is common caregiver mistrust of drinking TW for their child's and personal consumption due to water safety issues. However, all respondents used TW with general cooking which often involved boiling TW. Many of these beliefs arose from personal experiences in their country of origin, and were reinforced by discolored TW coming from the facets, and bottled water preferences by family and friends. Another important factor influencing water consumption practices arose from BW drinking preferences based on taste differences.

Conclusions: This timely qualitative study reveals multiple barriers to TW consumption in an urban, low-income immigrant Latino community. Results emphasize the importance of assessing water beliefs and practices in the local Latino community context. These results also inform potential early childhood caries health promotion and collaboration with community-based fluoridated TW interventions.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Identify three beliefs or experiences that lead to low-income immigrant Latino caregivers' to distrust the fluoridated municipal water supply (2) to understand the context of people's beliefs about water and the impact on current drinking and cooking practices, (3) Review the implications of these beliefs and related practices on oral health within families, particularly the prevention of early childhood caries.

Keywords: Oral Health, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am family physician with several years experience in oral health promotion in primary care and conducting qualitative research on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.