Pica has been described in the literature as “underreported” and “unrecognized.”6 There have been few epidemiologic studies detailing the prevalence of pica.13 There is disagreement as to the precise definition of pica. For instance, the use of the terms nonnutritive and normal foodstuffs have limitations. Cornstarch provides calories and soils may provide micronutrients. The definition of “normal foodstuffs” has cultural implications.16 In addition, those who practice pica may be hesitant to divulge such a practice. All these factors combine to make precise statistics on the prevalence of pica very challenging.
It is estimated that pica affects:4