module specification

NF7010 - Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health I (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health I
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
160 hours Guided independent study
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   2000 Word Report
Unseen Examination 50%   1.5 Hour Unseen Examination *FC*
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module focuses on evaluating the methodologies used to assess dietary intake, critically appraise nutrition epidemiological studies, to interpret and evaluate the evidence for diet-disease relationships, particularly for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and how this informs public health policy.

Module aims

This module aims to:
· to be able to critically evaluate dietary assessment methodology
· to understand the concepts and principles used in nutritional epidemiology
· to critically evaluate nutritional epidemiological data and communicate this in context
· to critically evaluate research tools used in epidemiology
· appreciate the ethical and moral implications when evaluating nutritional epidemiological data for public health policies


Epidemiological research design – ecological, cross-sectional, case-control, cohort and intervention study designs. Dietary assessment methods – 7- day weighed intake, 24 hour recalls, food frequency questionnaires, biomarkers, novel methods. Choosing appropriate dietary assessment tools. Food composition databases, effect of soil, climate, cooking and storage on nutrient content of foods.  Laboratory chemical analysis of diet and calculating energy and nutrient intake using dietary analysis software. The concepts and uses of dietary recommendations and reference values.

Examining the relative contribution of nutrition, genes, socio-economic and cultural and religious factors in the aetiology of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Examining the effects of pre-conceptual nutrition and nutrition in pregnancy on adult disease.

Introduction to the strategies for improving nutrition-related diseases and modification of dietary intake.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through a combination of keynote lectures to underpin the theoretical aspects of study designs, the critical evaluation of nutrition epidemiological studies in the diet-disease relationship and how they inform public health policy. Students will also be expected to collect, perform chemical analysis and interpret dietary intake data at a population level using appropriate statistical techniques.  Students will be instructed in the use of dietary analysis software (DietPlan) and statistical analysis software (SPSS).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. critically evaluate dietary assessment methodologies
2. critically evaluate methodologies used in nutritional epidemiology
3. interpret and evaluate epidemiological data in relation to nutrition and health
4. demonstrate an ability to integrate the underlying nutritional principles with the aetiology of disease of importance to public health nutrition
5. critically evaluate public health strategies to reduce the incidence of nutritionally-related diseases

Assessment strategy

In order to pass the module it is necessary to pass the coursework component and the written examination. This module will be assessed by means of one and a half hour unseen time-constrained examination, consisting of essay style questions, at the end of the module (50%).
The coursework component (50%) will comprise of one major piece of coursework which will consist of a report on a collection of dietary data by students and an evaluation of the methodologies and result including statistical analysis (approx 2,000 words).


Bland M., (2015). An Introduction to Medical Statistics. 4thEd. Oxford: OUP [Core]
Continuous Update Project, American Institute for Cancer Research, World Cancer Research Fund International (2016) (accessed 21.1.2016)
Gibney M, Margetts B, Kearney JM, Arab L (2004) Public Health Nutrition. Oxford. Blackwell Publishing.
Lanham-New S, Buttriss J, Welch A, Kearney J (2016) Public Health Nutrition 2nd ed. London, Wiley Blackwell.
Crawley H. & Patel S. (1994) Food Portion Sizes, 3rd ed. Food Standards Agency. [Core]
Department of Health (1991) Dietary Reference Values of Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom: Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, HMSO [Core]
Geissler C and Powers H (2010) Human Nutrition, 12th ed. Churchill Livingstone, London.
Lovegrove J, Hodson L, Sharma S and Lanham-New S. (2015). Nutrition Research Methodologies. London Wiley-Blackwell. [Core]
Margetts, B. ed., (1997). Design Concepts in Nutritional Epidemiology. 2nd Ed. Oxford: OUP.
McCance & Widdowson’s the Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (2015) (accessed 14.03.16)   [Core]
Public Health England (2006) Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Folate and Disease Prevention Report. (accessed 14.03.16)
Public Health England (2011) Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Dietary Reference Values for Energy. (accessed 14.03.16)
Public Health England (2015) Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. Carbohydrates and Health Report. (accessed 14.03.16)
Willett, W. (1998). Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.