Encyclopedia of Wellness: From Açaí Berry to Yo-Yo Dieting

. 2012. 984p. 978-0-31339-333-4. 278.
This set purports to “…examine key components that create overall wellness.” In that vein, about 220 signed articles cover such diverse topics as alternative/complementary medicine (“Acupuncture,” “Biofeedback”), exercise and weight control (“Dieting,” “Eating Disorders”), health care (“Online Health Resources”), and nutrition (“Fiber,” “Vitamins”). Zoumbaris (elementary school librarian; Nutrition: Health & Medical Issues Today; Food and You: A Guide to Healthy Habits for Teens) has written the majority of the entries. While some of the contributors are nurses and physicians, many others lack a health or medical background, and this shows in the writing. First, there are factual errors. The entry on Ritalin, for example, states, “Its chemical composition is methylphenidate hydrochloride,” but that is its chemical name. Then there is the wishy-washy overall tone. The entry on “Açaí Berry” states that they “…are believed to contain antioxidants, which are molecules that may combat cell-damaging free radicals.”
VERDICT Readers of this set will encounter a lot of maybe this, maybe that, with little definite information. A better choice is Martha Craft-Rosenberg and Shelley-Rae Pehler’s Encyclopedia of Family Health (SAGE, 2011).
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