Navigation Links
Pica in pregnant teens linked to low iron

ITHACA, N.Y. In a study of 158 pregnant teenagers in Rochester, NY, nearly half engaged in pica the craving and intentional consumption of ice, cornstarch, vacuum dust, baby powder and soap, and other nonfood items, reports a new Cornell study.

Moreover, such teens had significantly lower iron levels as compared with teens who did not eat nonfood substances.

Pregnant teens, regardless of pica, are at higher risk for low hemoglobin, which can lead to iron deficiency and anemia. Low iron in pregnant teens raises the risk of premature births and babies with low birth weights, which in turn increases infant mortality rates.

"In this study, the strength of the association between pica and anemia is as big as any known causal factor of anemia in pregnant teens; this is a very strong association," said Sera Young, a research scientist in nutritional sciences in Cornell's College of Human Ecology and a co-author of the study published online in the Journal of Nutrition.

In the study, pica behaviors and iron deficiency increased over the course of the pregnancies. "As anemia increased, so did these behaviors, but we don't know what happens first," said Kimberly O'Brien, professor of nutritional sciences and the study's senior author.

The study included African-American, white and Latina pregnant teens. Of the nearly 47 percent of adolescents who reported pica behaviors, most 82 percent craved ice, followed by starches, powders, soap, paper, plastic foam such as pillow stuffing or sponges, baking soda, and a few other items.

Texture appears to be very important to those engaged in pica and is one commonality among the types of substances consumed.

When people crave ice, they consume "cups and cups and cups of it," said Young. At the same time, "ice is not going to change someone's iron status," said O'Brien, leading to her hypothesis that iron deficiency may have an effect on brain chemistry that leads to these cravings.

"The public health importance of pica really needs to be acknowledged," said Young. "My hope is that these studies put pica on the radar as a legitimate public health issue."

Contact: Melissa Osgood
Cornell University

Related biology news :

1. 2 servings of salmon a week is healthy for pregnant women and their babies
2. Vitamin D for pregnant women and babies -- how much is enough?
3. Considerable prevalence of both malaria, STIs exist among pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa
4. Overweight pregnant women not getting proper weight-gain advice
5. Few pregnant women treated for sexually transmitted infections
6. Progesterone may be why pregnant women are more vulnerable to certain infections
7. Eating junk food while pregnant may make your child a junk food addict
8. Study reveals risk factors for blood clots in pregnant and postnatal women
9. Pregnant women with high celiac disease antibodies are at risk for low birth weight babies
10. Antiepileptic drug use while pregnant impacts early child development
11. Diets of pregnant women contain harmful, hidden toxins
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 09, 2015 ... the addition of the "Global Law ... their offering. --> ) ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
(Date:11/2/2015)...  SRI International has been awarded a contract of ... to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Program ... modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation to ... studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to bring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... /PRNewswire/--  Mallinckrodt plc (NYSE: MNK ), a ... closed the sale of its global contrast media and ... in a transaction valued at approximately $270 million. The ... total of approximately 1,000 employees spread across the globe, ... area. This entire workforce and the manufacturing ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PUNE, India , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... The Global Biobanking Market 2016 - 2020 ... biobanks by maintaining integrity and quality in long-term ... and enabling long-term cost-effectiveness. Automation minimizes manual errors ... improves the technical efficiency. Further, it plays a ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York ... encouraged to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior ... software.  A replay of the presentation will be available ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel funding process. Now, they ... for individuals looking to make early stage investments in the microbiome space. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: