The term arteriosclerosis is used to describe several cardiovascular diseases, including those involving the blood vessels. In this instance, the arteries become hardened and blood vessels lose their "elastic" effect.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners may assist in weight management, prevention of dental caries, and control of blood glucose for diabetics. It has also been suggested that low-calorie sweeteners may stimulate the appetite, but the bulk of evidence does not support this hypothesis.

Asian Americans, Diets of

Asian Americans represent a large and rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population.

Asians, Diet of

With forty-seven countries, innumerable tribes, and thousands of distinct languages, Asia is home to more ethnic groups than any other part of the world. In addition, the geography and climate of Asia are as diverse as its nations and peoples.


Macrovascular disease, or atherosclerosis, is the cause of more than half of all mortality in developed countries and the leading cause of death in the United States. It is a progressive disease of the large- and medium-sized arteries.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay occurs in young children when their teeth or gums are exposed to infant formula, milk, juice, or other sweet drinks for long periods of time. This often happens when infants or toddlers fall asleep while sucking on a bottle.

Battle Creek Sanitarium, Early Health Spa

The Western Health Reform Institute, which opened in 1866, was originally a residence belonging to Benjamin Graves, a judge of the Michigan Superior Court. Set on eight acres of land, this farm house gave no hint of what it was to become, but already there were ideas and propositions for the building that would lead to a worldwide reputation.


The German word beikost translates as "foods other than milk or formula." It refers to the first strained foods that are given to a young infant as a supplement to breast milk or formula. Beikost is introduced between four and six months of age, when an infant develops the appropriate oral motor skills and can indicate disinterest by leaning back and turning away.


Thiamin, or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in energy production (through the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate [ATP]) and nerve conduction. (ATP is the major source of energy that the human body utilizes to do work.) Thiamin is found in abundance in foods such as lean pork, legumes, and yeast.


Beta-carotene is the most active of the deeply colored pigments called carotenoids. After consumption, beta-carotene converts to retinol, a readily usable form of vitamin A.


Bezoars are balls of undigested materials, insoluble fiber, and undissolved medicines that resist the action of digestive enzymes in the stomach. Bezoars are the result of a lack of stomach hydrochloric acid secretion, without which medicine like sulfa drugs, iron, and antacid tablets may not dissolve.

Binge Eating

Binge eating disorder (BED), also known as compulsive overeating, has been designated as a psychiatric disorder requiring further study by the American Psychiatric Association. Like bulimics, individuals suffering from binge eating disorder indulge in regular episodes of gorging, but unlike bulimics, they do not purge afterward.


A nutrient's bioavailability is the proportion of the nutrient that, when ingested, actually gets absorbed by the body. The remaining amount cannot be metabolized and is removed as waste.


The term biotechnology refers to the use of scientific techniques, including genetic engineering, to improve or modify plants, animals, and microorganisms. In its most basic forms, biotechnology has been in use for millennia.

Body Fat Distribution

Adipose tissue accumulation is referred to as body fat distribution. For individuals with android (apple-shaped) distribution, fat is centered around the abdominal area.

Body Image

The term body image refers to the view that a person has of his or her own body size and proportion. Body-image distortion occurs when a person's view of their body is significantly different from reality.

Body Mass Index

Body weight is used as an indicator of an individual's health. It is usually compared to tables that list "ideal" or "desirable" weight ranges for specific heights.


Before 1900, most mothers breastfed their infants. Breastfeeding rates declined sharply worldwide after 1920, when evaporated cow's milk and infant formula became widely available.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, which are followed by purging to prevent weight gain. During these incidents, unusually large portions of food are consumed in secret, followed by compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or diuretic and laxative abuse.