Pica practice among pregnant women in the Kumasi metropolis of Ghana.Int Health 2010; 2(4):282-6IH
Pica, an eating disorder in which non-nutritional objects are frequently eaten, has negative health implications. Despite this, pica is less studied in many African communities where it is believed to be highly prevalent. This study therefore sought to determine the prevalence of pica and its various forms among pregnant women in Kumasi, Ghana, and the effects of education and place of residence (rural and urban) on pica practice. A random sample of pregnant women (n = 400) in rural and urban areas of Kumasi were interviewed using a questionnaire-based survey in 2008 and repeated in 2009. The results showed 47.0% of the pregnant women practising pica. Pagophagia accounted for 41.0%, followed by geophagia (29.8%), amylophagia (7.4%), plumbophagia (6.4%), and trichophagia (3.7%). Among the rural dwellers, 47.7% of the pregnant women practised pica during their pregnancies while 46.4% of the urban pregnant women engaged in the practice. Age and level of education did not significantly affect the practice of pica (P = 0.053 and P = 0.142 respectively). Also, 17.4% of the respondents identified a family member practising pica. Pica is therefore highly prevalent in pregnant women in Kumasi, with pagophagia and geophagia being the predominant types of pica.