Clinical Description | Epidemiology | Etiology | Course and Prognosis | Diagnostic Evaluation | Treatment
Pica is the persistent eating
of nonnutritive substances that is inappropriate to the developmental
level of the individual. The mouthing and eating of nonnutritive
substances are commonly observed and developmentally appropriate
in a significant number of typically developing 12- to 36-month-old
children (Table 21–24). Such eating may also be seen in pregnant
women and individuals with severe or profound mental retardation.
In some cultures, the eating of nonnutritive substances such as
clay is thought to be of value.