Prevalence and Incidence of Lactose Intolerance


About prevalence and incidence statistics: The term 'prevalence' of Lactose Intolerance usually refers to the estimated population of people who are managing Lactose Intolerance at any given time. The term 'incidence' of Lactose Intolerance refers to the annual diagnosis rate, or the number of new cases of Lactose Intolerance diagnosed each year. Hence, these two statistics types can differ: a short-lived disease like flu can have high annual incidence but low prevalence, but a life-long disease like diabetes has a low annual incidence but high prevalence. For more information see about prevalence and incidence statistics.

Prevalance of Lactose Intolerance: 30 million people to 50 million people (NIDDK 1994); about 25% of population (1994/NIDDK)
Prevalance Rate: approx 1 in 9 or 11.03% or 30 million people in USA [about data]
Prevalance of Lactose Intolerance: Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. 1 ... This most common food intolerance affects at least one out of ten people.2 ... 30 to 50 million people (1994) 3 ... An estimated 30 to 50 million Americans (about 25% of the United States population) are affected by lactose intolerance.4

Prevelance statistics about Lactose Intolerance: The following statistics relate to the prevalence of Lactose Intolerance:

  • 90% of Asian American adults have lactose intolerance (NIDDK 1994)
  • 70% of African-American adults have lactose intolerance (NIDDK 1994)
  • 74% of Native American adults have lactose intolerance (NIDDK 1994)
  • 53% of Mexican-American adults have lactose intolerance (NIDDK 1994)
  • 15% Caucasian adults have lactose intolerance (NIDDK 1994)

1. excerpt from Lactose Intolerance: NIDDK
2. excerpt from Food Allergy and Intolerances, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID
3. excerpt from Digestive Diseases Statistics: NIDDK
4. excerpt from Lactose Intolerance: NWHIC

Last revision: May 30, 2003

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