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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.

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Table Reference Number
TABLE 21–24. DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for pica

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