Lactose intolerance in Indonesian children

Badriul Hegar Syarif, Ariani Widodo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


"Lactose intolerance (LI)" is considered a common problem in Asians, and in many parts of the world. Its preva-lence 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 preva-lence 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%, re-spectively. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S31-S40
JournalAsia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Children
  • Indonesia
  • Lactase deficiency
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lactose malabsorption


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