Health Tip: Possible Triggers for Pica

Causes cravings to eat things that aren't food

(HealthDay News) -- Pica often affects children with developmental disorders, pregnant women and sometimes people with epilepsy. It's characterized by a craving to eat non-food substances, such as paint, plaster, chalk, cornstarch, dirt or cigarettes.

The Nemours Foundation mentions these possible triggers for pica:

  • Being deficient in vitamins and minerals, such as iron or zinc.
  • Dieting too strictly.
  • Being malnourished.
  • Lack of parental supervision.
  • Having a developmental problem, such as autism or mental retardation.
  • Having certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder.
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