UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Senior Scholars Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Pediatrics


Background: The health consequences of lactose intolerance (LI) are unclear.

Aims: To investigate the effects of LI on stature and vitamin D status.

Hypotheses: LI subjects will have similar heights and vitamin D status as controls.

Subjects and Methods: Prepubertal children of ages 3-12 years with LI (n=38, age 8.61 ± 3.08y, male/female 19/19) were compared to healthy, age- and gender-matched controls (n=49, age 7.95±2.64, male/female 28/21). Inclusion criteria: prepubertal status (boys: testicular volume

Results: There was no significant difference in 25(OH)D between the LI and non-LI subjects (60.1±21.1, vs. 65.4 ± 26.1 nmol/L, p = 0.29). Upon stratification into normal weight (BMI percentile) vs. overweight/obese (BMI ≥85th percentile), the normal weight controls had significantly higher 25(OH)D level than both the normal weight LI children (78.3 ± 32.6 vs. 62.9 ± 23.2, p = 0.025), and the overweight/obese LI children (78.3±32.6 vs. 55.3±16.5, p = 0.004). Secondly, there was no overall difference in height z-score between the LI children and controls. The normal weight LI patients had similar height as normal controls (-0.46 ± 0.89 vs. -0.71 ± 1.67, p = 0.53), while the overweight/obese LI group was taller than the normal weight controls (0.36 ± 1.41 vs. -0.71 ± 1.67, p = 0.049), and of similar height as the overweight/obese controls (0.36 ± 1.41 vs. 0.87 ± 1.45, p = 0.28). MPTH z-score was similar between the groups.

Conclusion: Short stature and vitamin D deficiency are not features of LI in prepubertal children.


Vitamin D deficiency, Lactose intolerance, Children, Obesity, Hydrogen, Body Mass Index, Short stature

Rights and Permissions

Copyright: 2013 Setty-Shah et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Setty-Shah N, Maranda L, Candela N, Fong J, Dahod I, Rogol AD, Nwosu BU. Lactose intolerance: lack of evidence for short stature or vitamin D deficiency in prepubertal children. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 25;8(10):e78653. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078653. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 24205288; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3808302. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PloS one


Supporting information is available under Additional Files below, and also at

Nithya Setty-Shah participated in this study as a medical student as part of the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Repository_Dataset_for_Lactose_intolerance_study_ 8-7-13.csv (10 kB)
Repository Dataset for Lactose Intolerance Study 7-Aug-2013