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Caregivers' practices concerning oral rehydration of young children during diarrheal illness were investigated in a periurban community of low socioeconomic level in Lima, Peru. Data of 330 caregivers of children aged 6–36 months were analyzed; 72.7% of all caregivers would give commercially available oral rehydration solutions (ORSs). However, only 58.6% of those caregivers with children that had experienced diarrhea during the previous week stated that they had used commercially available ORSs, a significantly lower percentage. The main reason for not using commercially available ORSs was that caregivers did not know about them. Of all recipes caregivers provided for homemade ORS, none contained the recommended concentrations of sugar and salt. Educating caregivers about availability, benefits, and use of commercially available ORSs as well as correct preparation of homemade ORS is urgently needed.
Financial support: B.P. received funding from the International Academy of Life Sciences. T.J.O. and J.R. were funded by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), Spain, Programa de Cooperación Interuniversitaria e Investigación Científica con Iberoamérica (D/019499/08 and D/024648/09). J.R. also has a Miguel Servet fellowship from the Fondo de Investigaciones Sanotarias, Spain (CP05/0130).
Authors' addresses: Birte Pantenburg, Leipzig University Medical Center, IFB Adiposity Diseases, Leipzig, Germany; Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health, Public Health Research Unit, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; and Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru, E-mail: email@example.com. Theresa J. Ochoa, Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru and School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston, TX, E-mail: Theresa.J.Ochoa@uth.tmc.edu. Lucie Ecker, Instituto de Investigación Nutricional, Lima, Peru, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Joaquim Ruiz, Centre de Recerca en Salut Internacional de Barcelona, Hospital Clinic/Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain and CIBERESP, Barcelona, Spain, E-mail: email@example.com.