Assessing the Palatability of Oral Rehydration Solutions in School-aged Children: A Randomized Crossover Trial | Olfaction and Taste | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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August 2010

Assessing the Palatability of Oral Rehydration Solutions in School-aged Children: A Randomized Crossover Trial

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Divisions of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (Dr Freedman and Mr Cho), and Paediatric Emergency Medicine (Drs Boutis and Schuh and Mr Cho) and The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children (Mr Stephens).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(8):696-702. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.129

Objective  To compare the palatability of 3 oral rehydration solutions.

Design  Prospective, blinded, randomized, 3-period, 3-treatment crossover trial.

Setting  Emergency department of a tertiary care pediatric hospital.

Participants  Sixty-six children aged 5 to 10 years with concerns unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract.

Intervention  Each participant consumed as much of each solution as they desired during a 15-minute period.

Main Outcome Measures  The primary outcome was each child's rating of taste as measured on a 100-mm visual analog scale (worst taste, 0 mm; best taste,  100 mm). Secondary outcome measures were volume consumed, willingness to consume each liquid again, and the most favored liquid.

Results  All enrolled patients completed all 3 study periods. A significant carryover effect was detected for taste scores (P = .03), which were significantly different with and without adjustment for the carryover effect (P < .001). Unadjusted values were 65 mm for Pedialyte, 58 mm for Pediatric Electrolyte, and 23 mm for Enfalyte. Differences in mean volume consumed were not significant (Enfalyte, 15 mL; Pediatric Electrolyte, 17 mL; and Pedialyte, 22 mL [P = .44]). The proportion of children who would drink each solution in the future varied significantly between Enfalyte and Pediatric Electrolyte (odds ratio, 0.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.11-0.46) and between Enfalyte and Pedialyte (0.38; 0.25-0.57). There were differences in the identification of the best-tasting solution, with Pedialyte selected by 35 of 66 children (53%), Pediatric Electrolyte by 26 of 66 children (39%), and Enfalyte by 5 of 66 children (8%) (P < .001).

Conclusion  Sucralose-sweetened oral rehydration solutions (Pedialyte and Pediatric Electrolyte) were significantly more palatable than was a comparable rice-based solution (Enfalyte).

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00689312