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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012 Feb;54(2):204-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182380604.

Lactose malabsorption, calcium intake, and bone mass in children and adolescents.

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Department of Nutrition, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil.



The objective of the present study was to evaluate the calcium intake and bone mass in children and early adolescents in accordance with their absorption capacity to lactose.


A transversal study was conducted on a sample composed of 76 individuals. Lactose malabsorption status was determined with hydrogen breath test. The hydrogen breath test was applied using 2  g of lactose per kilogram of weight up to a maximum of 50  g. A hydrogen increment ≥20  pm in relation to fasting was used to characterize lactose malabsorption. Two 24-hour recalls were applied for the evaluation of food consumption. Bone mineral content and bone mineral density were evaluated in the lumbar spine by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.


The prevalence of lactose malabsorption was 61.8%. The participants were divided into 2 groups: lactose malabsorbers (n = 47) and lactose absorbers (n = 29). There was no statistically significant difference (P > 0.05) between the groups with respect to the intake of total calcium, milk calcium, milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and calcium density of the diet. Additionally, there was no difference with respect to the bone mineral content and the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine. Independent from lactose absorption capacity, it was observed that the majority of the children and early adolescents showed calcium intake lower than the recommended value.


There was no relation among lactose malabsorption and bone densities, bone mineral content, or calcium intake within the present study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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