The idea of using a toilet has long been a staple of Western cultures.
But it has never been as ubiquitous in Asia as it is in Western cultures, according to the survey of more than 1,000 people from across the world, published in the American Journal of Public Health.
More than a third of Asian respondents said they had used a toilet at some point, compared with less than half of Westerners, and the trend was more pronounced among those with a university education.
“This is a global problem,” said Dr Richard J. Brown, an epidemiologist at Boston University and one of the authors of the study.
“There’s been an over-representation of toilets in places like the U.S. and Western Europe, and a lot of people don’t know what to do about it.”
The findings raise questions about the wisdom of building up toilets in the first place.
“A lot of countries have a very specific approach to building toilets,” said Brown.
“If they’re going to go to the lengths to build toilets, they should be there, they shouldn’t be in the way.”
The survey of 1,100 people also found that toilets have been associated with a host of health problems, from diarrhoea to urinary tract infections.
For example, a quarter of respondents reported that they used a bathroom with a mirror or other mirror-like objects in it at least once a day, and two-thirds said they used the toilet before and after a shower.
And over half said they “often” or “always” had to use the toilet while driving, while more than half said that using a bathroom after having sex was a “significant risk factor for STIs” and two thirds said they felt “a little uncomfortable” while using a restroom.
As such, the study suggests that building toilets into buildings is not only unnecessary but also unsafe, and should be discouraged.
It also suggests that “a toilet for everyone” could be preferable to “one for everyone”, but not all countries are on board.
China has seen an uptick in STIs linked to the country’s large number of urban residents and toilets are also a common sight in public spaces.
It was the first country in the world to have toilets for every individual, with toilets being installed at every public facility.
China’s public toilets are not designed to handle multiple users, but are instead designed to accommodate only one person at a time.
“One toilet for every 10 people is probably the most important,” said Sarah Silliman, a consultant who specialises in toilets for women in Asia.
“So if you’re not using a public toilet, you should not be using one for 10 people.”
China has a population of around 1.4 billion, but it has more than 538 million toilets, according the China National Public Health Bureau.
The toilet has been a key part of the city’s development, and is one of its most visible symbols of the country.
“I feel it’s a symbol of the people, the people are so happy,” said Lina Li, an architect in Beijing.
“You see the people coming and going in the public toilets, it’s very well lit and they don’t even have to be wearing shoes to get in.”
While some Chinese cities have seen an increase in the number of toilets over the past few years, they are still only part of a larger social infrastructure.
In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, there is also a large number in the cities themselves.
In Beijing, for example, there are currently more than 2.2 million toilets spread out across all of the major public buildings and buildings, according an estimate by the city council.
The number of public toilets is estimated to be nearly 2 million across the city, which includes a total of nearly 4,000 public toilets in public buildings.
In Shanghai, the number is closer to 700,000 toilets spread over nearly 10,000 buildings.
“When you think about how the Chinese urban development is evolving and how they are planning to build more public toilets around the country, I think we should consider it as a good idea,” said Michael B. Jaffrey, a senior researcher at the US-based Urban Institute, who co-authored the study with co-author Professor Jing Li.
“It’s a good thing, it keeps people healthy and it reduces the number [of STIs] because people are in more public spaces.”
For many of the cities, such as Beijing, the toilets have also become symbols of social inclusion and cultural identity, and this is one area where a toilet can make a difference.
“These toilets, you’re looking at a whole network of toilets that are used by the people in the city.
The toilets that aren’t in public can also be used by people outside the city,” said Silliman.
“And then you have the toilets that have a unique feature.
For instance, the one that’s used in public is actually made of