Urine Color Chart
Urine color: one of the simplest ways of assessing hydration.
Assessing hydration through the Urine Color Chart
An 8-point urine color scale was developed by Pr. Lawrence Armstrong, and validated for hydration monitoring in healthy adults¹, children² and pregnant and breastfeeding women³.
Assessing hydration can be done simply by comparing urine color to the urine color chart. Pale yellow, or “straw-colored” urine means hydration is optimal. On the other hand, darker urine means one may not be drinking enough. The darker the urine, the more risk there is to be dehydrated!
Note that urine color may be influenced by the content of diet or medical treatments.
The urine color chart adapted for 3 key targets
Specific urine color charts have been designed for adults, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, incorporating the 8-point urine color scale. For children³ and pregnant and breastfeeding women⁴, the understanding and appreciation of the urine color chart were validated through specific studies.
Hydration status evaluation
The importance of maintaining a proper water balance
Low fluid intake or low urine volume are associated with negative health outcomes such as a decline in kidney function, kidney stones recurrence, development of hyperglycemia, and prevalence of some components of the metabolic syndrome.
There is a need to maintain a proper water balance, whatever the age and stage of life.
Therefore, practical tools should be proposed to the general population to assess their hydration in daily living conditions.
Origins of the 8-point urine color scale
Prof. Armstrong came up with the idea of a urine color scale in 1988, at the time of a field study during which individuals exercised heavily in very hot weather. By creating a pyramid of the urine samples collected then, Prof. Armstrong realized that the color of urine could be a reflection of one’s hydration.
Order your own!
If you would like an example of one of these charts for use in your local health care community, simply contact us by clicking here and we will be happy to provide you with one.
The urine color chart is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and with the European Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, Trademarks and Designs. It is reproduced with permission from Lawrence E. Armstrong, University Professor.
Since the colors in this chart need to be reproduced accurately, health care professionals should only use a correctly printed version.
For more information about Prof. Lawrence Armstrong and the Urine Colour Chart visit http://www.hydrationcheck.com.
Order your own urine color chart here: https://www.h4hinitiative.com/ucc-form
- Armstrong, L.E., et al., Urinary indices during dehydration, exercise, and rehydration. Int J Sport Nutr, 1998. 8(4): p. 345-55.
- Kavouras, S.A., et al., Validation of a urine color scale for assessment of urine osmolality in healthy children. Eur J Nutr, 2016. 55(3): p. 907-15.
- Guelinckx, I., et al., Assessing Hydration in Children: From Science to Practice. Ann Nutr Metab, 2015. 66 Suppl 3: p. 5-9.
- Rigaud, M., et al., Assessing a Tool for Self-Monitoring Hydration Using Urine Color in Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A Cross-Sectional, Online Survey. Ann Nutr Metab, 2017. 70 Suppl 1: p. 23-29.
- McKenzie AL, Muñoz CX, Ellis LA, Perrier ET, Guelinckx I, Klein A, et al: Urine color as an indicator of urine concentration in pregnant and lactating women. Eur J Nutr 2017; 56: 355–362.