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Pica Type Of ‘nonfood’ Articles Eaten By Ajmer Children And Their Significance

P. Singhi, S. Singhi
Published 1982 · Medicine

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The significance of type of material eaten by 180 cases of pica (111 syob and 69 girls) was studied in relation to socio-economic environment and nutritional deficiencies. Mean (±FSD) number of non-food articles ingested by each child was 2.85 (± 1.3) and was not affected by the age or sex. Geophagy (eating of earth, mud and pieces of earthen potter) was the commonest form of pica (75%), followed by eating of wall plaster (58%). coal (44%) and chalk or slate-pencil (38%). Most of the articles eaten are crunchy. The choice of material eaten is probably related to the low socio-economic status and poor living conditions of these children. Statistically significant association was seen between eating of calcium containing articles and clinical evidence of rickets (p< 0 01) but findings in relation to other nutritional deficiencies particularly iron deficiency do not support the view that pica is a need based behaviour.
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