Fussy Eaters and Pica Eating Disorder

Fussy Eaters are More Likely to Experience Pica Eating Disorder, Research Finds

According to recent research, fussy eaters are more likely to develop a condition known as pica eating disorder. Pica is characterized by the persistent consumption of non-food substances, such as dirt, hair, or even paint chips.

Understanding Pica Eating Disorder

Pica is a complex eating disorder that can affect people of all ages, but it is most commonly observed in children and pregnant women. Individuals with pica have an intense craving for non-nutritive substances, which can lead to the ingestion of potentially harmful materials.

While the exact causes of pica are still unknown, researchers have found a correlation between fussy eating behaviors and the development of this disorder. Fussy eaters, also known as selective eaters, have a limited range of preferred foods and often exhibit strong aversions to certain textures, tastes, or smells.

The Link Between Fussy Eating and Pica

Studies have shown that fussy eaters are more likely to engage in exploratory behaviors, such as mouthing or tasting non-food items. This behavior, combined with the limited food choices, can increase the risk of developing pica eating disorder.

Furthermore, fussy eaters may have nutritional deficiencies due to their restricted diets. These deficiencies can lead to cravings for non-food substances as the body tries to compensate for the lack of essential nutrients.

Identifying and Addressing Pica Eating Disorder

Recognizing the signs of pica is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Some common symptoms include:

  • Craving and consuming non-food items
  • Recurrent stomachaches or digestive issues
  • Presence of non-food substances in stool
  • Development of nutritional deficiencies
  • Behavioral changes, such as irritability or withdrawal

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing pica eating disorder, it is important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can conduct a thorough evaluation and develop an appropriate treatment plan, which may include nutritional counseling, therapy, and addressing any underlying medical conditions.


Fussy eaters are at a higher risk of developing pica eating disorder due to their limited food choices and potential nutritional deficiencies. Understanding the link between fussy eating behaviors and pica can help raise awareness and promote early intervention for this complex eating disorder.

Remember, if you suspect pica eating disorder, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.