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NUTR101 Introduction to Nutrition , EXSC118 Nutrition and Exercise ,NUTZ101 Introduction to Nutrition , EXSZ118 - Nutrition and Exercise

Unit rationale, description and aim

A fundamental understanding of nutrition is essential for practitioners in food, exercise and health-related industries. In this unit, students will develop an understanding of key documents that inform dietary recommendations including the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Nutrient Reference Values; explore macronutrients and how they are absorbed; gain an understanding of vitamins and minerals and how they work to maintain good health and be introduced to dietary assessment methods and analysis. The concepts of hydration, exercise nutrition (including for training, competition and recovery, supplements, and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport), fad diets, Indigenous diets and the relationship between diet and disease are also explored.

Students will develop skills in reading, interpreting, and communicating scientific literature that contribute to the evidence base that shapes nutrition practice and recommendations. By combining the skills developed throughout the unit, students will be able to conduct basic dietary analysis using industry-standard software (FoodWorks) and make evidence-based recommendations to improve the overall health of general and athletic populations.

The aim of this unit is to help students build a strong nutrition foundation from which they can develop knowledge, and skills that are relevant to professional practice in food, nutrition and exercise. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Identify the role of energy balance, the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Nutrient Reference Values in maintaining overall healthGC1, GC2, GC3, GC11
LO2Describe the nutritive and non-nutritive components of food (macro- and micronutrients, other bioactive components and non-nutrients), their sources and their role in health and exerciseGC1
LO3Analyse evidence that supports nutritional practices for health and exerciseGC1, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO4Critique information collected using different dietary assessment methods and make evidence-based recommendations conducive to overall health in general and athletic populationsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC10, GC11


Topics will include: 

  • Food composition and function
  • Physiology of digestion and absorption
  • Energy metabolism, energy balance, and hydration 
  • Nutrient reference values and dietary guidelines for healthy eating
  • Sports nutrition strategies
  • Undernutrition and overnutrition in health and exercise
  • Nutritional supplements, ergogenic aids, and evidence-based approaches to diet/nutrition information, and fad diets
  • Methods of dietary assessment and evaluation
  • Scope of practice and referral pathways for inappropriate dietary behaviours
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders traditional diets food guides

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies adopted in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively and logically support students’ learning. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of the knowledge needed to understand introductory food and nutrition concepts in health and exercise. It builds on this by progressing to activities that support the development of a theoretical understanding of concepts and principles needed to inform skills development. The final stage involves approaches that support students in the application of their understanding in the development of skills needed to progress with their studies in nutrition. . As an overarching strategy, this is known to engender higher levels of engagement, efficiency and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. 

Learning and teaching approaches include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, online learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. This range of approaches will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of practical skills. These approaches will allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities. 

Further to this, to ensure students are ready to transition from the Diploma and articulate into the second year of undergraduate study, transition pedagogies will be incorporated into the unit as the key point of differentiation from the standard unit. This focuses on an active and engaging approach to learning and teaching practices, and a scaffolded approach to the delivery of curriculum to enhance student learning in a supportive environment. This will ensure that students develop foundation level discipline-based knowledge, skills and attributes, and simultaneously the academic competencies required of students to succeed in this unit.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements.

A range of assessment strategies are used in ways that support the developmental sequence of the learning and teaching strategy. Thus, the three phases of the strategy are reflected by integration of three appropriate assessment tasks. Each task is designed to build the skills necessary for working towards the final assessment task.

A written task early in semester requires students to present newly acquired knowledge and develop their ability to communicate reasoning and understanding through a literature review.

The second assessment task will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to interpret dietary guidelines and make food-based recommendations. as well as written communication skills.

The final assessment task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their understanding of the unit content and demonstrate critical thinking in the analysis and interpretation of dietary data using written communication skills.

Strategies aligned with transition pedagogies will be utilised to facilitate successful completion of the unit assessment tasks. For each assessment, there will be the incorporation of developmentally staged tasks with a focus on a progressive approach to learning. This will be achieved through activities, including regular feedback, particularly early in the unit of study to support their learning; strategies to develop and understand discipline-specific concepts and terminology; in-class practice tasks with integrated feedback; and greater peer-to-peer collaboration.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: Written Assessment

Investigate a topical issue related to key nutrition principles. 

Enables students to communicate reasoning and demonstrate application of knowledge and skills developed in the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO4

Assessment 2: Written Assessment

Interpretation and utilisation of dietary guidelines to make food-based recommendations.

Enables students to apply key unit learning as well as demonstrate their written communication skills.



Assessment 3: Dietary Analysis

Dietary analysis enabling students to assess and interpret individual dietary habits using appropriate nutrition software.

Enables students to demonstrate application of knowledge and skills developed in the unitEnables students to demonstrate oral communication skills.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Australian Government Department of Health. (2015). Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Australian Government Department of Health. (2015). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.

Burke, L., & Deakin, V. (2015). Clinical Sports Nutrition. McGraw-Hill. 

Gibney, M.J, Lanham-New, S.A., Cassidy, A., & Vorster, H.H. (2009). Introduction to Human Nutrition (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Jeukendrup, A., & Gleeson, M. (2010). Sport Nutrition. Human Kinetics. 

Kern, M. (2005). CRC Desk Reference on Sports Nutrition. CRC Press. 

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I., & Katch, V.L. (2011). Sports & Exercise Nutrition (3rd Ed.). Lippincott William & Wilkins. 

Maughan, R.J. (Ed). (2004). Food, Nutrition and Sports Performance II: The International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition.  Routledge. 

Thompson, J., & Manore, M. (2005). Nutrition: An Applied Approach.  Pearson Benjamin Cummings. 

Whitney, E.N., Rady Rolfes, S., Crowe, T., & Walsh, A. (2019). Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition (4th Ed.).  Cengage Learning Australia.

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