Esperance pica study.

Australian family physician

PubMedID: 28376581

Ardeshirian KA, Howarth DA. Esperance pica study. Aust Fam Physician. 2017;46(4):243-248.
Pica, the eating of non-foods, occurs particularly in children and pregnant women. It has been observed in communities all over the world. Pica is associated with iron deficiency and, in some environments, lead poisoning. This is the first time a study has assessed the prevalence of pica in Australia.

The study assessed the prevalence of pica in an Australian rural community, using a questionnaire given to parents of 223 children aged 2-10 years attending the five general practice surgeries in the shire.

The prevalence of non-ice pica in the study group was 9.4%, and 3.6% of this group ate soil.

The presence of pica should alert the treating clinician to consider iron deficiency and, in the case of polluted environments, lead exposure.