Assessing hydration in children: From science to practice

I. Guelinckx, A. S. Frémont-Marquis, E. Eon, S. A. Kavouras, L. E. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Raising children's awareness about their hydration status could be done through a noninvasive biomarker. Urine color (UC) has been validated as a biomarker of hydration in adults and children aged 8-14 years. The aim of this survey was to design and to evaluate the level of understanding and attractiveness of a self-assessment, UC-based hydration tool for children aged 6-11 years. The first phase of the survey consisted of face-to-face interviews during which 84 children identified those graphical elements necessary to understand the hydration message from 6 illustration-based designs containing the UC chart. The graphic elements selected were the basis to create 3 new designs. During the 2nd phase, the level of understanding and attractiveness of these 3 new designs was then evaluated via an online questionnaire by a total of 1,231 children in 3 countries. The design with the highest level of understanding was totally or partially understood by 76% of the participants, independent of age and gender. The levels of understanding, however, differed in the countries. In Indonesia, the levels of understanding of the 3 designs were comparable; whereas in both France (74%) and Mexico (78%), significantly more participants totally and partially understood one of the 3 designs. The levels of attractiveness of the 3 designs were comparable, independent of country, age, and gender. On average, 80% of all participants liked the 3 designs a bit or a lot. Only 14% did not like the designs, and 5% of participants had no opinion regarding attractiveness. These results indicated that three out of four children like and understand the correct hydration message from a strictly illustration-based tool containing the eight-point UC scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
StatePublished - Jun 23 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological markers
  • Children
  • Dehydration
  • Fluid intake
  • Hydration
  • Self-assessment
  • Urine color
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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