Incidence of pre-game hydration in athletes competing at an international event in dry tropical conditions

Finn, J.P., Wood, R.J., 'Incidence of pre-game hydration in athletes competing at an international event in dry tropical conditions.' Nutrition and Dietetics, Vol 61 p221-225, 2004. 

The study tested the hypothesis that the pre-game hydration status of athletes competing at an international event in dry tropical conditions may be inadequate. Differences in hydration status among athletes due to the athlete’s origin and activities during the previous 24 hours were also investigated, as well as the suitability of urine color as a marker of hydration status. Ninety-three male athletes were tested prior to their first game, with 68 retested 3-4 days later. A comparison between subject’s urine specific gravity (Usg) was made with urine color (Ucol), subjects’ origin and previous 24 hours’ activities as indicated in a questionnaire. No prior warning was given for either test. Subjects were selected on the basis of the environmental conditions they anticipated for competition and had therefore prepared for: indoor air-conditioned (volleyball n=43), outdoor (touch football n=32) and indoor non-air conditioned (basketball n=18). The Usg of all samples (mean ± standard deviation) was 1.020 ± 0.008, with 6% classified with serious dehydration, 50% with significant dehydration, 31% with minimal dehydration and 14% were well hydrated. There was no difference between the first and second sample (p=0.166). There was a significant relationship between Usg and fluid intake rating (p=0.015), but no relationships between Usg and other questionnaire items. There was a high correlation (r=0.87) between Ucol and Usg, though Ucol tended to underestimate hydration levels. Findings are of some concern as dehydration was prevalent among athletes. Recommendations are for hydration education to specifically target groups identified as high risk, irrespective of whether athletes had spent the previous 6 months in a tropical environment, and to promote Ucol to be used by athletes for monitoring hydration status.

Related Pages