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Open AccessArticle

Characteristics of Pica Behavior among Mothers around Lake Victoria, Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB #7435, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA
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Ekialo Kiona Research Dept, Organic Health Response, Mbita, P.O. Box 224-40305, Kenya
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Division of HIV, Infectious Disease, and Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCSF, 1001 Potrero Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
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Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota, 5516 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
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Bureau for Global Health, USAID, Washington, DC 20001, USA
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Centre for Microbiology Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Hospital Road, Nairobi 00100, Kenya
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Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall #3114, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
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Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, 1810 Hinman Avenue, Evanston, IL 60208, USA
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Division of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 2121 Berkeley Way, Room 5302, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA
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Master of Public Health Program, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, S2-004 Shurman Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142510
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 10 July 2019 / Published: 14 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Background: Pica, the craving and purposeful consumption of nonfoods, is poorly understood. We described the prevalence of pica among women on Mfangano Island, Kenya, and examined sociodemographic and health correlates. Methods: Our cross-sectional study included 299 pregnant or postpartum women in 2012. We used a 24-h recall to assess pica, defined as consumption of earth (geophagy), charcoal/ash, or raw starches (amylophagy) and built multivariable logistic regression models to examine sociodemographic and health correlates of pica. Results: Eighty-one women (27.1%) engaged in pica in the previous 24 h, with 59.3% reporting amylophagy and 56.8% reporting geophagy, charcoal, and/or ash consumption. The most common substances consumed were raw cassava (n = 30, 36.6%), odowa, a chalky, soft rock-like earth (n = 21, 25.6%), and soil (n = 17, 20.7%). Geophagy, charcoal, and/or ash consumption was negatively associated with breastfeeding (OR = 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18–0.81), and amylophagy was associated with pregnancy (OR = 4.31, 95% CI: 1.24–14.96). Pica was more common within one of six study regions (OR = 3.64, 95% CI: 1.39–9.51). We found no evidence of an association between food insecurity and pica. Conclusion: Pica was a common behavior among women, and the prevalence underscores the need to uncover its dietary, environmental, and cultural etiologies. View Full-Text
Keywords: pica; geophagy; amylophagy; pregnancy; breastfeeding; Kenya pica; geophagy; amylophagy; pregnancy; breastfeeding; Kenya
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Chung, E.O.; Mattah, B.; Hickey, M.D.; Salmen, C.R.; Milner, E.M.; Bukusi, E.A.; Brashares, J.S.; Young, S.L.; Fernald, L.C.; Fiorella, K.J. Characteristics of Pica Behavior among Mothers around Lake Victoria, Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2510.

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