Pica is an eating disorder that affects an individual who experiences a craving that is satisfied by ingestion of either unusually large amounts of selected food items (e.g., baking soda) or repeated ingestion of nonfood items (e.g., clay, laundry starch). Pica is more than an anomaly of human behavior; it is an eating disorder that carries all the risks that are inherent to impaired nutrition, including death. Pica can be dated to antiquity, yet there is little question that it continues as a current practice. As an eating disorder, pica has implications for persons who are in positions to influence human behavior, those in education and social service as well as those in clinical settings.

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