Selection of culturally sound home fluid management of infantile diarrhoea in rural Mexico

Homero Martínez, Luz María Meneses, H. Russell Bernard, Pertti J. Pelto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An ethnographic study was conducted in 12 villages located in the central highland plateau of Mexico to explore mothers' practices for the management of acute diarrhoea, in order to identify a fluid that could be safely used as a rehydration solution for the sick child. Teas were reported to be used by 90% of 142 mothers interviewed, while rice-based beverages, which included rice water and rice gruel, were used by 77% of them; another 19% said they would accept using rice-based beverages if advised to do so. A key difference was that teas were mainly used as a treatment to stop diarrhoea, while rice-based gruels were used as a palliative to soothe the child. Rice-based beverages were selected to be further tested as a likely rehydration solution, as mothers reported using them longer than teas during the diarrhoeal episode. Their use was not subject to a complicated system of specific remedies for particular types of disease, as was the case with herbal teas. They were widely accepted and compliance was expected to be greater than with teas, as there was no expectation that rice-based beverages would shorten the duration of diarrhoea. The preparation of rice-based beverages was assessed in those mothers who mentioned using it. Fifty-nine percent of mothers used a concentration of rice between 40 and 70 g/L, which was deemed to be safe, as previous studies had successfully used 50 g/L for oral rehydration solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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