Addiction, Food

Food addiction is a nonmedical term that refers to a compulsion to eat specific foods, usually those that are high in sugar or starch. Although this term is used to describe intense cravings to seek out specific foods, these foods are not, in and of themselves, physically addictive in the way a drug might be.

Additives and Preservatives

Additives are defined by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as "any substance, the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result, directly or indirectly, in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food." In other words, an additive is any substance that is added to food. Direct additives are those that are intentionally added to foods for a specific purpose.

Adolescent Nutrition

Adolescence is the transition period between childhood and adulthood, a time of life that begins at puberty. For girls, puberty typically occurs between ages 12 and 13, while for boys it occurs between ages 14 and 15.

Adult Nutrition

The science of nutrition is dedicated to learning about foods that the human body requires at different stages of life in order to meet the nutritional needs for proper growth, as well as to maintain health and prevent disease. A baby is born with a very high requirement for energy and nutrient intake per unit of body weight to provide for rapid growth.

African Americans, Diet of

The 2000 U.S. Census revealed that there were almost 35 million African Americans, or about 13 percent of the total U.S.

Africans, Diets of

Africa, the second largest continent in the world, is rich in geographic and cultural diversity. It is a land populated by peoples with histories dating to ancient times and cultures shaped by innumerable tribes, languages, and traditions.

Aging and Nutrition

Aging Americans will make up an unprecedented proportion of the population as the 78 million baby boomers reach age 50. The baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, will first reach age 65 in 2011, transforming the 35 million people over age 65 in 2000 to an estimated 69 million by 2030.

Alcohol and Health

Alcohol is a central-nervous-system depressant that affects judgment, coordination, and inhibition. Mild alcohol intoxication causes a relaxed and carefree feeling, as well as the loss of inhibitions.

Allergies and Intolerances

Food allergies affect approximately 3 percent of children and 1 percent of adults in the United States. It is estimated that an even larger percentage of the population experiences problems with food intolerance.

Alternative Medicines and Therapies

Alternatives to conventional medical care are increasingly popular in the United States, and their growing use by consumers represents a major trend in Western medicine. Alternative therapies appear to be used most frequently for medical conditions that are chronic, such as back pain, arthritis, sleep disorders, headache, and digestive problems.

American Dietetic Association

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) was founded in 1917, and its stated mission is to "promote optimal nutrition and well-being for all people by advocating for its members" (ADA).

American Public Health Association

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is an association of individuals and organizations working to improve the public's health and to achieve equity in health status for all. Founded in 1872, APHA is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world.

American School Food Service Association

The American School Food Service Association (ASFSA), founded in 1946, is dedicated to ensuring that "healthful meals and nutrition education are available to all children." Its stated mission is "to advance good nutrition for all children" (ASFSA).

American School Health Association

The American School Health Association (ASHA) was founded in 1927 by physicians who were members of the American Public Health Association. The main focus of the ASHA is to safeguard the health of school-age children.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body has twenty different amino acids that act as these building blocks.


Anemia affects more than 30 percent of the world's population, and it is one of the most important worldwide health problems. It has a significant prevalence in both developing and industrialized nations.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extreme reduction in food intake leading to potentially life-threatening weight loss. This syndrome is marked by an intense, irrational fear of weight gain or excess body fat, accompanied by a distorted perception of body weight and shape.

Anthropometric Measurements

The term anthropometric refers to comparative measurements of the body. Anthropometric measurements are used in nutritional assessments.


Americans spend several billion dollars a year on antioxidants in an effort to improve their health. Science has been looking at antioxidants and their role in everything from preventing cancer and heart disease to boosting the immune system and slowing the aging process.


Why do many people desire ice cream and pie or some other rich dessert after eating a huge Thanksgiving dinner? This desire is referred to as appetite, which is not the same as hunger.