Comparison of Pica in Breastfeeding versus Artificial Feeding in Children 2 Years of Age or Younger


Background: Pica is the daily compulsive eating of food or nonfood items not part of one’s habitual diet or preferences, which is inappropriateto the developmental level. Pica is a distinctive but poorly understood accompaniment of iron deficiency or depletion in some children,although most pica items contain little or no iron. Objectives: The objective of the study is to assess and compare pica in breastfed versusartificially fed children aged 2 years or younger in Hilla city, Babylon Province, Iraq. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive hospitalbased cross‑sectional study which was carried out on a convenient sample of 150 children aged 2‑year‑old or younger who attended pediatricclinics in three hospitals in Babylon Province in the Center of Iraq who accepted to participate in this study. Results: The study found thatthe mean age (month) of children with childhood pica is 14.51 ± 4.13 with the mean birth weight (g) is 2812.83 ± 533.18, the gender gapin childhood pica is in favor of male children (69.3%). The study found that almost two‑thirds of children with pica were breastfed (68.7%)while the other one‑third was artificially fed. The majority of children suffering from pica consumed the material clay (43.3%). The mean ofhemoglobin (Hb) (g/dl), total serum iron (μg/dl), and serum ferritin (ng/ml) and which is 8.44 ± 1.50, 7.68 ± 2.36, and 6.36 ± 1.54, respectively.Conclusion: Children with pica had low level of Hb, iron, and ferritin which mimics the hematological picture accompanying iron deficiencyanemia. There is a significant mean difference between the type of feeding of children with pica and the birth weight, serum iron, Hb, andserum ferritin. Furthermore, there is a significant association between type of feedings and the following variables: gestational age, onset ofpica, birth order, and spacing between births.


Anemia, clay, iron, pica