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Approved Research

Assessing the association between water intake and all-cause mortality as well as hydration related health outcomes in UK Biobank participants

Principal Investigator: Miss Amy Rodger
Approved Research ID: 73012
Approval date: October 7th 2021

Lay summary

Water is essential for survival, however, the impact of low water intake on health is under-researched. The human body constantly losses a large amount of water (e.g., through urination, sweating) and can only produce and store a limited amount of water. Due to the body's high water loss and low production/storage of water, water must be replaced by water intake throughout the day. However, in the UK a large proportion of men and women are have low water intake. Therefore, research on the impact of low water intake is crucial as this could affect many people in the UK.

Recent research has found evidence that water intake is linked to numerous different health outcomes. Water intake can increase urine flow and decrease urine concentration reducing the recurrence of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Additionally, water intake can reduce the level of hormones that have been linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Finally, there is evidence that increased water intake could reduce the risk of bladder cancer. However, as this area of research is relatively new, more studies are needed to assess the link between water intake and these health outcomes. This project aims to assess whether increased water intake reduces the instance of health outcomes such as urinary tract infections, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease and bladder cancer.

The health outcomes we will study affect many people in the UK and cost the UK economy a significant amount of money every year. For example, 5.26% of people in the UK had Type 2 diabetes in 2014 and diabetes accounts for approximately 10% of NHS expenses. If increasing water intake could potentially lower the risk of these health outcomes it is important to research this using the UK Biobank and inform the public accordingly. Informing the public is crucial, especially since current public health messages are largely silent on the implications of underhydration and low water intake.