Relationship between Pica and Iron Nutrition in Johannesburg Black Adults

  • G Sayers
  • DA Lipschitz
  • M Sayers
  • HC Seftel
  • TH Bothwell
  • RW Charlton

Abstract

On direct questioning by a Black staff nurse, 23% of 348 consecutive unselected adult outpatients attending the Johannesburg Non-European Hospital said that they regularly are earth or ash. The prevalence was higher in the women (33%) than in the men (11 %), and in 50 women with minor gynaecological complaints who were interviewed by a Black psychologist, it was 72%. The quantity eaten varied from an occasional tablespoonful to several handfuls a day. In an attempt to define the reasons for the habit a thematic apperception test was used. A strong association with pregnancy was identified, but the explanation for this was not established. Some subjects claimed that the material was eaten for medicinal purposes, while others merely liked the taste. The effect on iron nutrition appeared to be variable, depending on the ironbinding capacity of the soluble iron content of the material consumed.

S. Afr. Med. J., 48. 1655 (1974)

Author Biographies

G Sayers
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
DA Lipschitz
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
M Sayers
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
HC Seftel
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
TH Bothwell
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
RW Charlton
MRC Iron and Red Cell Metabolism Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of the Witwatersrand and Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
Published
2018-04-01
Section
Articles

eISSN: 0256-95749