Urine Color Measurement

Urinalysis has been shown to be the most valid and reliable method for determining moderate changes in fluid balance. This test involves collecting a sample of urine, and comparing the color to a color chart.

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.

precautions:

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).

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