PHPS40050 Nutritional Epidemiology

Academic Year 2022/2023

The overall aim is to ensure that the student develops an understanding of the relationship between nutritional exposure with non-communicable disease, and the methods of researching this relationship. The module is designed for students who have a good knowledge of basic nutritional science, and through lectures and course work they will develop a greater understanding of how diet-disease associations are determined and how we identify changes in nutritional status in large groups or populations. The goal of the module is to provide students with the necessary skills to develop effective strategies and policies to improve public health nutrition
The module will begin with an overview of the historical significance of nutritional epidemiological studies and how they have served to develop the field. Students will build on their existing nutritional knowledge to examine the identification of food groups and sources of nutrients for diets in different populations; the information and skills developed will then be utilised to examine the contribution of foods and nutrients to health and disease. Appropriate nutritional exposures and outcomes for epidemiological purposes will be considered in relation to specific population groups, study designs and research and/or public health goals.
Students will build on their prior learning of nutritional assessment to consider the application of appropriate methods for measurement of nutritional status in public health, and also in the development and utility of the standards and references used for identifying health and nutritional status. The ability to derive food and nutrient intakes from dietary assessment will be further developed with a specific emphasis on data management and treatment. The module will involve in class activities which will develop student skills in recognising the types and sources of error in nutritional data, proposing design and analytical solutions to measurement error, and being able to assess the impact of measurement error on study findings.
These skills will enable students to critically appraise the strength of the evidence for diet and chronic disease and be able to appreciate the contribution of evidence from observational, experimental and intervention studies to understanding diet-disease associations. The module will also consider the sources of evidence for identifying populations at risk of malnutrition (both over and under nutrition) including surveillance mechanisms. Finally students will learn to recognise how evidence from nutritional epidemiology can be used to influence, formulate and evaluate policy.

All assessment components must be completed in order to pass the module.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to;
• Apply nutritional knowledge to identify relevant modifiable risk factors which determine health in the population.
• Develop appropriate study designs and methods to examine nutritional risk factors in a target population.
• Extract, manage, analyse and interpret nutritional data to answer specific research questions.
• Apply nutritional epidemiological approaches to identify challenges, to understand their determinants and to develop strategies and policies that improve health in the population.

Indicative Module Content:

Study design
Diet and population health status
Assessment of nutritional status
Determinants of nutritional status
Managing nutritional data

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In-class group activities.
Individual tasks
Skills workshop
Data workshop 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Research Methods in Epidemiology PHPS40010
Use of SPSS software
Food Science, Nutrition or Health-related modules

Learning Exclusions:

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Proposal Week 8 n/a Graded No


Assignment: Data analysis Week 12 n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual grades and group feedback will be provided following both assessments. Individual feedback available at request.