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module specification

NF7054 - Nutrition and Food Policy (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Nutrition and Food Policy
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Policy Review Report (1000 words)
Unseen Examination 60%   90 minutes unseen exam
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of the rationale for and the formulation, implementation and limitations of food, nutrition and obesity policies, in local, national and international contexts. The content of this module will draw upon prior knowledge and practical experience in basic food and nutrition science.
This module will focus on the food and nutrition issues at the population level and how they relate to chronic disease prevention and wellbeing. It will draw upon the epidemiology of nutrition-related morbidity to examine how local, UK, European, international and global food, nutrition and obesity policies and strategies are formulated, implemented and evaluated. This will be approached within a context of the wider food and public health systems and policies and the political environment. Surveillance will be examined ranging from global to local systems, with special reference to the National Child Measurement Programme. The obesogenic environment (with particular reference to the role of the food industry) will be addressed. Health promotion theory, historical and current activities including Change4Life. Fiscal policies to address the obesity epidemic will be evaluated.


Epidemiology of nutrition-related diseases – diabetes, hypertension, CHD, cancer. Economics of diet-related morbidity. Integration of evidence base with policy formulation. Healthy eating advice and behaviour (, food pyramids, EatWell Guide). Historical approach to agricultural (CAP), food, nutrition and obesity policies, nationally and globally. Governmental and other bodies responsible for policies across the food chain, eg DEFRA, DoH, PHE, FSA. NICE. The Foresight Report. Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives. The obesogenic environment. Food, nutrition and obesity surveillance – local, national, global.  Public Health Observatories. National Child Measurement Programme.
Global food production, food industry and processing. Food security and sustainability. Food waste. Food product reformulation. Public Health Responsibility Deal. Food retailers and consumer-related policy. Food advertising. Psychology of consumer-retailer interaction. Food safety and health claims, including legislation. Food industry contribution to and response to obesity epidemic (versus personal responsibility). Fiscal policies – eg ‘fat tax’ or ‘sugar tax’. Food fortification policy and practice. Physical activity policy. Major policy-related agencies, including, WHO, FAO, PHE, SACN, NGO’s, charities, World Obesity, NOF, ASO, NS, WCRF, Food Ethics Council. How these bodies work collectively and individually. Trade organisations including FDF, Sugar Bureau, BNF. Politics of nutrition and obesity. Health promotion and improvement, theory and application, including social marketing, Change4Life, Let’s Move. Nudge strategy. LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will consist of a programme of lecturer-led lectures (24 hours) and tutorials (12 hours). The former will introduce students to the theoretical concepts, whilst the latter will apply these to various cases and practical examples. A proportion of the module will be devoted to tutorial support for the assessment, together with self-directed study time (162 hours). Students will be expected to spend a significant amount of time in self-directed study to investigate a food and nutrition policy of a chosen country. This should be conducted in a journalistic and investigative manner and written as a policy review. Students will be expected to read widely around the subject including relevant government publications, national statistics, and journals covering food and nutrition policy.
Tutorials will be used to expand knowledge into both theoretical and applied areas of policy. Students will be expected to prepare for tutorial sessions by reviewing appropriate material and devoting study time. A web-based virtual learning environment is available to support digital literacy and understanding through access to additional learning resources.  Students would be expected to use the on-line resources for assisted study.
PDP:  on completion of this module students will evaluate how the module allowed them to develop skills in information technology, organisation and planning, communication, time management; they will also be asked to reflect on their ability to research literature effectively. They should record this in a pro forma that will form the basis of their final PDP record submitted with their dissertation.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module students will be able to:

1. Interpret, critically appraise and place current agricultural, food, nutrition and obesity policies within a historical and international context of public health.
2. Identify and evaluate the statutory and voluntary organisations responsible for food, nutrition and obesity policies and guidelines at local, national and global levels.
3. Critically evaluate surveillance and health promotion strategies, initiatives, tools and policies including fiscal policies.
4. Demonstrate the food and nutrition elements of a food fortification policy and strategy.
5. Appreciate the role of food systems in nutrition-related morbidity, including retailers and advertisements.

Assessment strategy

Assessment will be via a time-constrained unseen examination (90 minutes) (learning outcomes 1-5) and a 1000 words-policy review of a chosen country’s food and nutrition policy (learning outcomes 1-5). To pass the module, an aggregate mark of at least 50% must be obtained. Understanding of the subject matter; an ability, to explain, describe and discuss the work; completeness and conciseness of written reports and essays with emphasis upon critical ability and scientific rigour.