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

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the principles of nutrition as they relate to health and exercise, requires a life-long evidence-based approach towards understanding and applying the factors that link food, nutrition, exercise and health. This unit will assist students to acquire foundation knowledge of food composition, the macro and micronutrients and other bioactive substances, that contribute towards maintaining normal cell function; nutrient transport and storage; metabolism and water and electrolyte balance, as these relate to energy metabolism for health and exercise. Principles of healthy eating, dietary guidelines and nutrient reference values are introduced, with concepts of energy balance nutrition assessment, and nutrient composition of foods and diets explored. Nutritional strategies for training, competition, recovery, and hydration, will also be considered with respect to scope of practice and appropriate referral pathways .The aim of this unit is to help students build a strong nutrition foundation from which to they can continue to develop knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to health and exercise as they relate 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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - describe 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 exercise (GA5)

LO2 - understand the principles and methods of measurement and estimation of nutritional and energy requirements of the general and athletic populations (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - critique the evidence supporting nutritional practices for health and exercise (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - justify the choice of techniques for assessment of dietary intake, including data collection, analysis and interpretation in individuals, groups and populations (GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO5 - articulate evidence-based scientific principles and benefits of dietary principles for the general and athletic population including cultural factors that may influence food choices and the consequences of poor nutrition in these populations (GA4, GA5, GA8). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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  
  • Nutritional supplements, ergogenic aids, and evidence-based approaches to diet/nutrition information, and fad diets
  • Scope of practice and referral pathways for inappropriate dietary behaviours
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders traditional diets and Indigenous food guide.

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. To successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of greater than 50% over these three assessment tasks.

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. What follows are examples that have the requisite purpose:

  • 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 techniques for nutritional status assessment as well as written communication skills through interpretation of dietary habits.
  • The final assessment task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their understanding of the unit content and demonstrate their oral communication skills. 

The assessment tasks will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes.

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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Assessment

Literature review investigating a topical issue related to key nutrition principles. 

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


LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5

Written Assessment  

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

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


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA8

Written and Oral Assessment

Development and presentation of an academic poster on a chosen nutrition topic and population.

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


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

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. Sydney: 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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