Urine Color Measurement
Urinalysis has been shown to be the most valid and reliable method for determining moderate changes in fluid balance.
- procedure: The first part of the urine stream is discarded, then a small sample of urine is collected into a clear container. Measurement may be done immediately, or the specimen can be stored for later analysis. The sample is usually collected first thing in the morning. It may also be of interest to collect samples prior to or post exercise, though there may be a time delay for the effect of dehydration to show in the urine color.
- equipment required: Urine specimen containers, ice bucket for storage and ice, color rating chart, gloves, clip boards, recording sheet, pen.
- interpretation: The sample should be held up in front of a white background, in good light, and the color compared to a color chart. The lower the number, the better the result. A urine color rating of 1, 2 or 3 is considered to be well-hydrated (Armstrong, 2000). Based on these results, changes in fluid intake can be made.
- certain medicines and vitamins may cause the color of the urine to change. If any of these have been taken, this test is unreliable.
- the colors your see on the screen, or when you print the image out, may appear different to the original chart. Therefore this chart should only be used as a guide. If more accurate comparison is required, please go to an original source.
- Comments: There is a minimal difference in the accuracy of the related measures of urine specific gravity, urine osmolarity, and urine color (Armstrong et al. 1998).
- Armstrong, L.E., Maresh, C.M., Castellani, J.W., Bereron, M.F., Kenefick, R.W., LaGassee, K.E., and Riebe, D. (1994). "Urinary Indices of Hydration Status.", Int. J. Sport Nutr., 4, 265-279.
- Armstrong, L.E., Soto, J.A., Hacker, F.T., Casa, D.J., Kavouras, S.A., Maresh, C.M. (1998). "Urinary indices during dehydration, exercise, and rehydration." Int. J. Sport Nutr. 8: 345-355.
- Armstrong, L.E. (2000). Performing in Extreme Environments, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL.
- other hydration testing methods: body weight changes, sweat analysis, urine specific gravity, sweat rate
- about testing hydration
- hydration for sport: a collection of articles
- a discussion on methods of measuring hydration
- urinalysis health testing