Several cohort and case-control studies have identified thermal injury to be associated with risk of esophageal cancer. Whilst case-control studies provide self-reported data on drinking temperature and speed, more quantitative studies of measured drinking temperatures and sip sizes are needed for a more robust assessment of whether a population is at risk of thermal injury. In Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya, we have undertaken cross-sectional studies of hot beverage drinking habits, with the following aims:
- To examine hot beverage drinking temperatures, at first sip and on average.
- To examine predicted intra-esophageal temperatures, i.e. incorporating both drinking temperatures and the volume of each sip.
- To examine determinants of drinking temperatures, by drinking type, socio-demographic factors;
- To investigate the age at which first exposure to hot beverages occurs and how temperatures vary with age, through the inclusion of usual drinking habits in children;
- Provide prevention messages in terms of the time needed to wait, after pouring, for different types of beverages, in different ambient conditions, to cool to safe temperatures.