module specification

NU6057 - Diet and Disease (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Diet and Disease
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
6 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
112 hours Guided independent study
32 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 50%   Poster presentation on the critical evaluation of a weight reducing diet (10 minutes)
Unseen Examination 50%   Unseen exam (1.5 hours)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Specifically it aims to introduce the concepts and principles used in nutrition epidemiology and develop the students’ understanding of the interaction of diet, food and nutrition in the causation and prevention of health and disease. To develop the students’ ability to utilise and critically evaluate the research tools used in nutrition epidemiology and appreciate these implications when evaluating the evidence for public health policies.  This module will also provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility; decision making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.


Critical analysis of epidemiological research design and interpretation of data. Hierarchy of evidence, Bradford-Hill guidelines, and critical appraisal of literature and epidemiological data. LO1, LO2, LO3
• Epidemiology, prevalence, epigenetics and nutri-genetics, ethnic variation, culture, lifestyle and socio-economic status in the aetiology and prevention of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Role and function of non-nutritive dietary components and functional foods. Concept of individual optimum nutrition.
• The effects of pre-conceptual nutrition on adult disease.
• The concepts, uses, strengths and limitations of dietary recommendations and reference values.
• Limitations and uses in the scientific basis for nutrition and public health nutrition in policy formation.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will be assessed by a group poster presentation (10 min) (used to provide formative feedback) (Learning outcomes 1, 2,3), an in-class test (1.5 hour) (Learning 1,2,3,4) To pass the module, students must get an overall mark of 40% or above to pass.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Critically evaluate methodologies used in nutrition epidemiology and interpret and evaluate epidemiological data in relation to nutrition and health.
2. Demonstrate an ability to integrate the underlying nutritional principles with the aetiology of health and disease.
3. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles of nutrition epidemiology and how this can help formulate public health policy, particularly in relation to reducing the incidence of nutritionally-related disease.


Core Text:
Lanham-New S, Buttriss J, Welch A, Kearney J (2016) Public Health Nutrition 2nd ed. London, Wiley Blackwell.

Other Texts: Bland M., (2015). An Introduction to Medical Statistics. 4thEd. Oxford: OUP [Core]
Gibney M, Margetts B, Kearney JM, Arab L (2004) Public Health Nutrition. Oxford. Blackwell Publishing.
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.

Websites: 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)
Continuous Update Project, American Institute for Cancer Research, World Cancer Research Fund International (2016) (accessed 21.1.2016)