The main purpose of this work was to identify the prevalence of self-reported stomach symptoms after consuming milk among Sami and non-Sami adults.
A cross-sectional population-based study (the SAMINOR study). Data were collected by self-administrated questionnaires.
SAMINOR is a population-based study of health and living conditions conducted in 24 municipalities in Northern Norway during 2003 and 2004. The present study included 15,546 individuals aged between 36 and 79, whose ethnicity was categorized as Sami (33.4%), Kven (7.3%) and Norwegian majority population (57.2%).
Sami respondents had a higher prevalence of self-reported stomach symptoms after consuming milk than the Norwegian majority population. The reporting was highest among Sami females (27.1%). Consumption of milk and dairy products (yoghurt and cheese) was high among all the ethnic groups. However, significantly more Sami than non-Sami never (or rarely) consume milk or cheese, and individuals who reported stomach symptoms after consuming milk had an significant lower intake of dairy products than those not reporting stomach symptoms after consuming dairy products. Sami reported general abdominal pain more often than the majority population. The adjusted models show a significant effect of Sami ethnicity in both men and women on self-reported stomach symptoms after consuming milk. In females, the odds ratio (OR)=1.77 (p=0.001) and in males OR=1.64 (p=0.001).
Our study shows that the Sami population reported more stomach symptoms after consuming milk, suggesting a higher prevalence of milk intolerance among the Sami population than the Norwegian majority population.