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Nutrition and Society

Module titleNutrition and Society
Module codeESS2510
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Kerry Brown (Convenor)

Mrs Sarah Grey (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will focus on public health nutrition. Public health nutrition is the promotion of good health through nutrition, and the primary prevention of diet-related diseases in populations via organised action at the societal level e.g., food policies and public health agendas.

You will be introduced to the main concepts of how dietary guidelines are developed for populations. In addition, how to assess dietary intake and nutritional status at the population level. You will also be introduced to nutritional epidemiology and how inter-/national data can be used to explore the links between population dietary intake, nutritional status, and health status. You will also be introduced to basic frameworks (e.g., behaviour change and ecological models) and qualitative research methods (qualitative, participatory, mixed-methods), as these are useful tools to describe, design, implement, and evaluate public health nutrition priorities/interventions.

Throughout the module you will be encouraged to consider context and social determinants of health to understand health inequities (group differences) in food security and diet-related diseases, within and between countries/regions. In addition, to critically assess how evidence informs inter-/national decision-making, public health agendas, and food policies.

Module aims - intentions of the module

By the end of this module you will be able to use frameworks and case study examples to define public health nutrition. You will be aware of the challenges of assessing diets at a population level and interpreting dietary guidelines for different population groups. You will also have an overview of key public health nutrition priorities in different regions/population groups across the world.

A key aim of this module is to develop an ability to understand how societal factors can influence lifestyle choices and health inequity in population diet-related disease.

This module will also help you to develop skills to interpret and summarise nutrition (qualitative/quantitative) evidence and communicate this to different audiences.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain how societal factors can influence lifestyle choices and population diet-related diseases
  • 2. Ability to consider population group differences in the design, implementation, and evaluation of public health nutrition interventions

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Ability to interpret quantitative and qualitative research data to understand public health nutrition priorities/effectiveness of population interventions
  • 4. Critically assess how evidence informs public health agendas and policies at inter-/national levels

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Develop arguments demonstrating critical thinking and synthesis
  • 6. Understand how to address multidisciplinary problems within local, national, or global contexts

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Definition of public health nutrition
  • Overview of inter-/national population dietary reference values and food-based dietary guidelines
  • Epidemiology in nutrition (study designs, data sources, and interpretation)
  • Social determinants of health
  • Population dietary assessment methods
  • Ecological and behavioural models in nutrition and public health
  • Food security and malnutrition (undernutrition, overnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies) 
  • Qualitative, participatory, and mixed-methods research methods in nutrition

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Lectures/seminars
Guided Independent Study40Reading
Guided Independent Study22Completing study tasks on ELE
Guided Independent Study55Preparation for assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation5 minutes1-6In-class peer review
Online (ELE) quiz10 questions1-3Self-assessed online (ELE)

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written report1002,000 words1-6Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written reportWritten report (100%)1-6August/September Assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will need to complete further assessment as required. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Essential and recommended reading will be provided, each week, for specific teaching and learning sessions on ELE ( The below are general reading materials for the overall module:



  • Aschengrau A & Seage GR. Essentials of Epidemiology in Public Health, 4th edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning: Burlington MA, 2018
  • Butriss JL, Welch AA, & Kearney JM. Public health nutrition, 2nd edition. Wiley Blackwell: Chichester, 2018
  • Pope C & Mays N. Qualitative research in healthcare, 4th edition. Wiley Blackwell: Chichester, 2020


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Public health nutrition, society, dietary guidelines, health behaviours, food policy, intervention, evaluation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS1606 Nutrition and Metabolism or equivalent

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date