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Lactose-Intolerant kids need to take dairy products to meet nutrient requirements

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report on Sept.5, according to which, milk products should not be avoided by lactose-intolerant kids.// Instead, they should consume as much as they can stomach.

“ It is better for children to suffer the intestinal symptoms of lactose intolerance from time to time than to not get enough dietary calcium,” said Melvin B. Heyman, M.D., M.P.H, of the University of California San Francisco, the report's principal author who wrote for the academy's committee on nutrition.

Milk products should "not be discouraged", according to the earlier academy recommendations on lactose intolerance and dairy consumption. This was reinforced by the current report. “The new recommendations go much further by saying that milk products should be ‘pushed to the point of tolerance’,” Dr. Heyman said in an interview.

“Although the academy has never recommended that lactose-intolerant kids should avoid milk products, there is a perception among pediatricians that this is a correct course of action”, he said. “Doctors often suggest milk avoidance to control intestinal symptoms”, he added.

"Treatment of lactose intolerance by elimination of milk and other dairy products is not usually necessary given newer approaches to lactose intolerance, including the use of partially digested products (such as yogurts, cheeses, products containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, and pretreated milks," Dr. Heyman and colleagues wrote in the September issue of Pediatrics.

"Evidence that avoidance of dairy products may lead to inadequate calcium intake and consequent suboptimal bone mineralization makes these important as alternatives to milk. Dairy products remain principal sources of protein and other nutrients that are essential for growth in children." Children "with primary lactose intolerance have varying degrees of lactose deficiency and, correspondingly, often tolerate varying amounts of dietary l
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