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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2015;24 Suppl 1:S31-40. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2015.24.s1.06.

Lactose intolerance in Indonesian children.

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Department of Child Health, University of Indonesia, Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia. Email:
Department of Child Health, University of Indonesia, Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia.


in English, Chinese

"Lactose intolerance (LI)" is considered a common problem in Asians, and in many parts of the world. Its prevalence and age of manifestation varies between by Asian country, for possible genetic or cultural reasons. Studies in Indonesian children 3-15 years old (y) are available within the past two decades, using a pure lactose tolerance test. The prevalences of lactose malabsorption (LM) in pre-elementary (3-5 y), elementary (6-11 y), and junior high (12-14 y) school-children were 21.3%, 57.8%, and 73%, respectively. An increasing trend for LM prevalence was seen within the pre-elementary group, from 9.1% at 3 y to 28.6% at 5 y. The most frequent symptoms of LI in junior high school (JHS) group were abdominal pain (64.1%), abdominal distention (22.6%), nausea (15.1%), flatulence (5.7%), and diarrhea (1.9%), mostly within one hour of lactose ingestion. In children with regular and irregular milk drinking, LM occurred in 81.2% and 69.6%; LI was found in 56.2% and 52.1%, respectively. Most JHS children with dairy-associated recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) symptoms proved to be malabsorbers. Dairy products most related to RAP were milk and yogurt. LI was found in 81% of RAP children with abdominal pain most frequently, followed by nausea, bloating, diarrhea, borborygmi, and flatulence. Symp-tom onset occurred 30 minutes after lactose ingestion, especially nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain. In RAP children LI symptoms mostly found in breath hydrogen concentration>20 ppm. More LI symptoms were found in lactose malabsorbers, but symptoms were mild and generally disappeared in 7 hours, and in most by 15 hours.

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