Get answers to your child's growth, nutrition, and feeding behavior questions.
Children and adults with pica may eat:
This pattern of eating should last at least 1 month to fit the diagnosis of pica.
There is no single test that confirms pica. However, because pica can occur in people who have lower than normal nutrient levels and poor nutrition (malnutrition), the health care provider should test blood levels of iron and zinc.
Blood tests can also be done to test for anemia. Lead levels should always be checked in children who may have eaten paint or objects covered in lead-paint dust to screen for lead poisoning.
The health care provider should test for infection if the person has been eating contaminated soil or animal waste.
Boris NW, Dalton R. Vegetative disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Brittenham GM. Disorders of iron metabolism: Iron deficiency and iron overload. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 36.
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