Q:

Why do people eat chalk?

A:

People who eat chalk do so either for cultural reasons or because they have pica, which is a kind of eating disorder where people eat something other than food on a regular basis and in large quantities. Other items that people with pica will eat include balloons, metal, ashes, crayons, insects, grass, soap, sand, plastic, paint chips and baby powder.

Geophagia is the specific word to describe those with pica who eat only clay. The word pica comes from the Latin word for the magpie species. Magpies will eat almost anything. However, people that eat nonfood are more specific in their choices of what they will eat. Most people with pica, for example, will choose one particular object that they regularly eat.

Pica can be dangerous as doctors often have to operate on people who eat items such as nuts or twigs. These people can get the objects blocked within their intestines. This practice was common among slaves in the 1800s because they did not have much else to eat. Throughout the 1950s and '60s, clay-filled bags were sold for lunch at bus stops in the South.

Some people have chosen to eat clay for cultural reasons because they have been told that the clay is good for their babies during pregnancy or good for them nutritionally. Many women with pica preferences believe that they will become ill or have a miscarriage if they do not eat to eliminate their pica cravings.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What types of food do Islamic people eat?

    A:

    People who follow Islam eat a variety of foods that are shaped by Islamic dietary law. This law forbids the eating and drinking of certain items, but it allows just about everything else. Forbidden foods are called haram, while permitted foods are called halal.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What types of food do people eat in Barbados?

    A:

    People in Barbados eat Bajan food, which is a hybrid blend of British, African and Indian cuisine styles. The national dish is cou-cou served with flying fish; this dish is a food that is made from corn meal and okra. Other staples include local fish, sweet potatoes and yams, breadfruit, rice, cassava and pasta. The most prominent foods on the island are sugar, rice, potatoes, molasses and corn.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do people eat Argo starch?

    A:

    Some individuals compulsively eat Argo laundry starch or other starch brands because they suffer from a physiological condition known as pica, which may be caused by a mineral deficiency. When the deficiency is identified and corrected, the compulsion to eat starch may go away.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do people yell "Geronimo"?

    A:

    People yell "Geronimo" when jumping off something because a test paratrooper named Aubrey Eberhardt did it to prove his courage when he jumped out of an airplane in 1940. It became an unofficial yell of U.S. airborne troops and spread throughout U.S. culture.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore