Fluid intake, hydration status and its association with cognitive function among adolescents in Petaling Perdana, Selangor, Malaysia

  • Tung, Serene En Hui (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UCSI University Kuala Lumpur Campus) ;
  • Ch'ng, Yi Zhang (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UCSI University Kuala Lumpur Campus) ;
  • Karnan, Thaneswary V (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UCSI University Kuala Lumpur Campus) ;
  • Chong, Pei Nee (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UCSI University Kuala Lumpur Campus) ;
  • Zubaidah, Jamil Osman (Division of Psychology, Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Chin, Yit Siew (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Universiti Putra Malaysia)
  • Received : 2019.06.17
  • Accepted : 2020.02.03
  • Published : 2020.10.01


BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: A cross-sectional study was undertaken to evaluate fluid intake and hydration status in association with cognitive function among 230 adolescents (10-14 years of age) in Petaling Perdana, Selangor, Malaysia. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Urine color was used to measure hydration status, while fluid intake was assessed using the 15-item beverage intake questionnaire. Cognitive function was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition. RESULTS: More than half of the adolescents were mildly or moderately dehydrated (59.6%) and only one-third (33.0%) were well hydrated. Among the daily fluid types, intakes of soft drinks (r = -0.180; P = 0.006), sweetened tea (r = -0.184; P = 0.005) and total sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) (r = -0.199; P = 0.002) were negatively correlated with cognitive function. In terms of hydration status, cognitive function score was significantly higher (F-ratio = 4.102; P = 0.018) among hydrated adolescents (100.38 ± 12.01) than in dehydrated (92.00 ± 13.63) counterparts. Hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis, after adjusting for socio-demographic factors, showed that soft drinks (β = -0.009; P < 0.05) and sweetened tea (β = -0.019; P < 0.05) negatively predicted cognitive function (ΔR2 = 0.044). When further control for sources of fluid, hydration status (β = -2.839; P < 0.05) was shown to negatively predict cognitive function (ΔR2 = 0.021). The above variables contributed 20.1% of the variance in cognitive function. CONCLUSIONS: The results highlight the links between fluid intake (soft drinks, sweetened tea, total SSBs) and hydration status with cognitive function in adolescents. Interventions aimed at decreasing the consumption of SSBs and increasing hydration status through healthy fluid choices, such as water, could improve cognitive performance in adolescents.


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