Q&A: Eating Ice - Is it a sign?by Dr. Christine Wood, M.D
Q: My 5 year old son constantly eats ice. I have heard that this is a sign of a Iron deficiency. Is this true?
A: Eating of non-nutritive substances like dirt, hair and ice may be associated with iron deficiency anemia or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to the psychiatric classification of PICA which is the eating of non-nutritive substances, this condition includes: Persistent eating of nonnutritive substances Eating habits persist for 1 month or more No associated food aversion
However, this could just be a child who likes to eat ice and there are children and adults I know who do this. Iron-containing foods include: meats (animal foods are the best absorbed iron foods); dry beans, peas and lentils; leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, collard greens); iron-fortified cereals and grains; dried fruits (like apricots and prunes); fish and black strap molasses.
If you are concerned about iron-deficiency anemia, ask your child's doctor to perform a blood test for anemia.
Christine Wood, MD
Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.
She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.
Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your Ped.com a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at http://www.callyourped.com
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