FZMR20-Diet, Food & The Nation’s Health

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 15 [7.5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Craig Farrell

Email: c.farrell@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will be delivered entirely online, with the aim of students understanding the importance of diet as a means of maintaining and improving the health of the public. The module will take the form of eight weeks of distance learning which will mix recorded lectures, background information and directed reading. The lectures will be delivered by academic members of teaching and research staff from the Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences, from the wider University of Reading and from invited experts from academia and industry.


The module aims to provide an introduction to, and knowledge of, the nutritional state of the nation and the role of diet in health and in acute and chronic disease. We will present the scientific evidence that underpins present conceptions of ‘a healthy diet.’ In particular, we will explore how this relates to current dietary guidelines and healthy eating recommendations. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to critically appraise the diet of an individual (i.e. themselves), and will develop an understanding of food composition, relative to healthy eating guidelines. The module will consider the scientific rationale for making health claims on foods.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, learners should be able to:

  • Discuss the present nutritional setting of the United Kingdom

  • Discuss the role of diet in chronic disease

  • Critically appraise dietary guidelines and the health claims made on foods

  • Evaluate their own diet and that of others in terms of overall “healthfulness”

  • Critically appraise the composition of food items in relation to healthy eating targets

  • Discuss the potential for the food industry to improve diet quality and the Nation’s health

Additional outcomes:

The following transferable skills will be developed in this module:

  • Critical evaluation of data from a variety of sources

  • Effective communication of scientific information in oral and written format with scientific rigour

  • Debating skills

Outline content:

This module is designed to provide an understanding of the importance of a healthy diet in tackling key Public Health challenges in the UK. Areas of particular focus include hypertension, cardiovascular and metabolic disease and obesity. Students will appraise the UK diet and consider the potential role of the food industry in ensuring the population achieves current dietary guidelines.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Problem based learning supported by lectures together with presentations by invited speakers from different areas of the food industry and experts in the area of diet, medicine and health. Students will also have the opportunity to appraise their own diet and biological risk markers for disease. Assessments will take the form of multiple choice questions that follow on from the video lectures, and a written assessment on the role of the food industry in shaping the nation’s health that will reflect on the area in which the student is employed.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 30
Guided independent study: 120
Total hours by term 150
Total hours for module 150

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Set exercise 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The final piece of coursework will be a critical review (c.3000 words) on the role of the food industry in public health.  Students will be expected to approach this assessment with their own area of employment in mind, and will be asked to reflect on how their learning in this module relates to the activities of their business.

The module is divided into five approximately equal parts, and each part will have a corresponding set of multiple-choice questions to be completed on Blackboard (each accounting for 10% of the total mark for the module). These will be relatively substantial assignments and will seek to reiterate the key ideas conveyed in the lectures and additional reading.


Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Due to the unusual nature of AFTP cohorts (frequently in full-time employment in industries with short-term deadlines and seasonal increases in workload), work submitted up to one month late will only be penalised 10% of the module mark. Work submitted after this date without extenuating circumstances will be considered a fail, and resubmitted work will be capped at a pass (50%).

Assessment requirements for a pass:

In order to pass the module, students are required to achieve an overall module mark of 50%. 

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment arrangements are in accordance with University policy. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during the August re-examination period.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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