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Unit information: Child Nutrition, Activity and Health in 2018/19

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Unit name Child Nutrition, Activity and Health
Unit code SPOL30034
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Johnson
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The content of this unit draws from research and theories in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Behavioral Psychology. The unit provides an opportunity for an (introductory) examination of selected aspects of child health relating to nutrition, activity, and behavioral aspects in the lives of children. Some sessions will aim to examine the development of unhealthy eating behaviors in children. Sessions will describe biological, behavioral, and environmental factors of nutrition and activity with special attention to community and cultural contexts. A range of issues in selected areas of contemporary health policy will be explored, such as

  • Childhood obesity prevention through improved nutrition
  • Venues to the development of high diet quality
  • Increasing physical activity in schools
  • Understanding intake and activity behaviors

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Understand and apply the concepts underlying the relationships between diet, nutrition, and health in children.
  • Understand the importance of physical activity behaviour of children and be able to compare them with the situation in other countries.
  • Understand the relationship between physical activity and diet for health in children.
  • Understand the factors involved and theories in behaviour change in childhood.
  • Understand and apply the implications of the development of disordered eating.

Students are expected to gain knowledge in these areas, and to develop a critical approach to the analysis of current research and theoretical issues.

Teaching details

There will be a weekly two-hour lecture and one hour seminar, plus independent study

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: in class debates, students will be asked to research on subject in pairs and present 2 sides to a debate in class

Summative assessment: 3,000 word essay. Students will be asked to research one subject covered in the course in-depth and complete a 3,000 word essay showing understanding and using a critical approach to the use of current research. The topics to be addressed will be different in the formative and summative assessments but the skills in presenting and critically appraising the evidence will be the same. These assessments will address all of the learning outcomes of the Unit

Reading and References

Ogata BN and Hayes D. (2014) Nutrition Guidance for Healthy Children Ages 2 to 11 Years. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 114(8):1257-76

Bach-Faig A et al (2011) Mediterranean diet pyramid today. Science and cultural updates. Public Health Health Nutrition 14, 2274-2284,

Department of Health, Physical Activity, Health Improvement and Protection (2011). “Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers”.

Haines, J and Neumark-Sztainer, D (2006). Prevention of obesity and eating disorders: A consideration of shared risk. Health Education Research 21(6):770-82,

Rosen DS and The Committee on Adolescence (2010). Clinical Report – Identification and Management of Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics; 126