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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


ALVES, Gildney Maria dos Santos; MORAIS, Mauro Batista de  and  FAGUNDES-NETO, Ulysses. Nutritional status and breath hydrogen test with lactose and lactulose in Terena Indian children. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2002, vol.78, n.2, pp.113-119. ISSN 0021-7557.

Objective: to evaluate the nutritional status, absorption and tolerance of lactose and the occurrence of small-bowel bacterial overgrowth. Methods: a cross-sectional study including all 264 Terena Indian children younger than 10 years from two tribes (Limão Verde and Córrego Seco) in Mato Grosso do Sul. The nutritional status was assessed based upon weight and height, using NCHS data as reference. The breath hydrogen test after an oral lactose (18g) administration was used for evaluation of lactose absorption and tolerance. The occurrence of bacterial overgrowth was evaluated using the breath hydrogen test after the administration of lactulose (5g). Results: the median z scores of weight-for-age, weight-for-height and height-for-age were, respectively, in infants under 1 year (n=34): -0.66, +0.60 and -0.85. Between 1 and 5 years (n=111), the values were: -0.50, +0.28 and -1.17. Between 5 and 10 years (n=119), these anthropometric values were, respectively: -0.09, +0.50 and -0.60. Deficient lactose absorption or malabsorption was verified only after the fourth year of age in 89.3% of the 197 evaluated children. Lactose intolerance was found in 37.1% of them. Small-bowel overgrowth was detected in 11.5% of the Terena Indian children (n=252). Conclusions: the prevalence of recent malnutrition was low, but the median height-for-age was lower than the NCHS reference. The prevalence of ontogenetic lactase deficiency was high. Bacterial overgrowth may be considered as evidence of the occurrence of nonsymptomatic environmental enteropathy in Terena Indian children.

Keywords : nutritional status; lactose; lactulose; breath test; South American Indians; small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

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