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South African Medical Journal

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The practical significance of lactose maldigestion in institutionalised black children

D.F. Wittenberg, A. Moosa

Abstract


A study was carried out to determine the practical significance of a high prevalence of lactose maldigestion in institutionalised children whose diet included 500 ml milk daily. Thirty of 34 children at a child we"are home were found to be lactose maldigesters as judged by a 2-hour rise in breath hydrogen of 20 parts per million or more after an oral load of lactose. Breath hydrogen tests were also perf~rmed on the same group of children, before and up to 150 minutes after the routine mid-morning cup of milk. Sixteen of the 30 lactosemaldigesting children did not show Increased breath hydrogen up to 2,5 hours after milk. No children were clinically intolerant of either the lactose or the milk. In these children the degree of lactose digestion was much improved in the non-fasting' state when measured by the breath hydrogen response to milk lactose. Lactose maldigestion per se is not a contraindication to institutional feeding routines, including regular moderate milk intake.




AJOL African Journals Online