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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

FOOD5515M Nutrition Through the Lifecourse

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Dr Hannah Ensaff

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The demand for different nutrients varies during the lifecycle, with higher demands during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy, infancy and adolescence. Other stages of the life course also have specific demands and considerations, e.g. older age.This module will allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of the science behind the role of diet at different stages of the life cycle and evaluate the adequacy of diets for particular groups of individuals. Barriers that prevent individuals from adopting healthy diets will be examined and the complex relationship between diet and health outcomes will be examined. Module aims and learning outcomes will be achieved through the use of lectures, small group exercises, guest lectures with expertise on relevant topics, as well directed independent learning. Knowledge and skills will be assessed though coursework (1 assignment) and an exam.


The module aims to:

1) Develop students' knowledge and understanding of the role of diet, foods and nutrients in the maintenance of health throughout the human lifecycle
2) Promote an understanding of the role of nutrients in key physiological processes underpinning human growth, development and repair at different stages of the lifecycle and improve understanding of the relationship between physiological status and nutritional demand
3) Introduce students to research literature in nutritional science and promote awareness of the many links between diet and disease through the life course
4) Initiate students' ability to propose sustainable solutions to real-life nutritional situations

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will:

1. Have an improved understanding of the role of nutrients in human health at different stages of the life course

2. Have an improved understanding of dietary requirements and nutritional issues concerning vulnerable population groups such as children and adolescents, pregnant women and older adults

3. Be able to identify, using population-based dietary intake data, populations ‘at risk’ of poor nutritional status

4. Have an improved understanding of how scientific evidence is used to make dietary recommendations, and how these recommendations should be applied in different population groups.

5. Have an appreciation of the multi-factorial nature of food choice and how this is critical in efforts to improve diets.

6. Have an awareness of the global distribution of nutrition related health problems.

7. Have an awareness of some of the large nutrition surveys that are used to study nutrition in populations

8. Evaluate the tools used for assessment of nutritional status at different stages of the life cycle

Skills outcomes
- Ability to interpret nutritional assessment information in relation to requirements
Ability to consider nutritional intake taking into account food choice parameters and influences, eg, individual preference, religious and cultural practices
- Ability to use a scientific evidence base to develop practice in nutrition


Defining nutritional status
Dietary reference values and dietary guidelines
Factors affecting food choice
Dietary issues through the life course including:
Infants, Children and adolescents
Pre-conception, Pregnancy
Older adults
At each stage, discussion of influences on nutritional requirements, adequacy of intakes in the UK, identification of key nutritional issues and public health nutrition challenges, eg obesity in childhood, pre-conception, during pregnancy and in adulthood, malnutrition in older age.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours28.00
Private study hours144.00
Total Contact hours28.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent on-line learning will include use of videos and audio material, via the VLE, as well as some external resources such as current media coverage of nutrition topics. Students are expected to engage in course materials and reading in advance of and after contact hours. Materials are designed and ordered to first introduce major concepts of nutritional requirements in adults, including setting dietary reference values and then to progress through the lifecourse to appreciate how nutritional demand changes by age and during preconception, pregnancy and lactation. Set reading is provided from core text books and selected journal articles which are linked through the VLE.

Directed reading for lectures: 60 hours
Additional reading/study: 40 hours
Completion of assignment: 24 hours
Preparation and revision for exams: 20 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Active participation in sessions and feedback comments on assignment, lecture activities and out of class activities.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 30 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:42


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