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Quantitative assessments of the relative effects on health of various aspects of water supply are virtually absent from the literature. Despite the lack of information, resources are being allocated throughout the developing world, for projects related to water and sanitation. The present study was designed specifically to overcome many of the methodological problems that other researchers have faced. Data were collected concerning the nutritional status of 627 children in three urban communities in South India. Information was also collected on water quality, water quantity, household sanitation, socioeconomic conditions, and housing. A statistical technique is presented that allows for controlling potential confounding factors in the analyses. The results, in general, indicate that at young ages (i.e., under 3 years old) water quality is relatively more important as a determinant of nutritional status, while at older ages water quantity is relatively more important.

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