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NUTR101 Introduction to Nutrition

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the principles of nutrition as they relate to general health and exercise is required to provide general nutritional advice to apparently healthy individuals. These knowledge and skills are consistent with the professional standards for Exercise Scientist accreditation. The aim of this unit is to provide students with this nutritional foundation as it relates to health, exercise, and culture, and its integration with other sub-disciplines of exercise science. This includes the roles of macro- and micro-nutrients for general health and in energy metabolism during acute exercise and chronic training. Nutritional strategies for hydration, body composition change, and training, competition and recovery will be explored, as well as the role of nutritional supplements, vitamins and ergogenic aids. Current nutritional guidelines and the provision of general advice on nutrition, including basic dietary and body composition analysis techniques will be addressed with respect to scope of practice and appropriate referral pathways.

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 principles of appropriate nutrition for health and exercise, and cross-cultural factors that may influence nutritional choices (GA5) 

LO2 - compare the varying nutritional needs of the general and athletic population (GA4, GA5) 

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

LO4 - provide dietary analysis and nutritional advice within scope of practice, and refer individuals when appropriate (GA5, GA8, GA10) 

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:

Physiology of digestion and absorption 

Sources and functions of macronutrients and micronutrients 

Nutritional guidelines for apparently healthy populations 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders traditional diets and nutritional guidelines 

Techniques of dietary analysis 

Techniques of body composition analysis 

Strategies for body fat loss and muscle gain 

Renal physiology 

Strategies for maintaining hydration  

Sports nutrition strategies during training, competition and recovery  

Pre and post exercise nutrition 

Nutritional ergogenics and supplements 

Fad diets and eating disorders 

Scope of practice for the Accredited Exercise Scientist, and referral pathways for inappropriate dietary behaviours 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, graduate attributes of the University and professional accreditation standards. They are intended to reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities. 

Content for the unit is delivered via lectures and tutorials across 12 weeks, accompanied by four summative online practices quizzes designed to complement basic knowledge of key concepts. Lecture material builds the foundational knowledge and skills required for subsequent disciplines of exercise science.  Tutorials include active learning, inquiry-based learning, individual and group (collaborative) activities, cooperative learning and reflective/critical thinking activities. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of basic practical skills in dietary assessment. Tutorial activities also directly prepare students for assessment tasks

Assessment strategy and rationale

Authentic, real world tasks have been designed to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the principles of nutrition as they relate to general health and exercise. Assessment 1 is an individual task that introduces students to a key tool in dietary analysis and provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply techniques and interpret dietary habits. Assessment 2 is completed in pairs/groups and requires students to present newly acquired knowledge, and the ability to communicate their reasoning and understanding. The final assessment allows students to demonstrate the depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of unit content. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Applied assessment: Dietary analysis  

(written assignment) – enables students to assess and interpret a client’s dietary habits using appropriate nutrition software 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA8

Presentation: Supermarket Challenge 

(verbal group presentation) – enables students to assess the nutritional value (supported by calculations and recommended nutritional guidelines discussed) of 3 products with respect to healthy eating and/or competition nutrition 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA5, GA10 

Summative assessment: End-semester exam – requires students to answer multiple choice and short answer questions based on learning content from weeks 1-12 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10 

Representative texts and references

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

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I., & Katch, V.L. (2009). Sports & Exercise Nutrition (3rd Ed.).Baltimore: Lippincott William & Wilkins. 

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

Caballero, B. (Ed). (2005). Encyclopaedia of Human Nutrition (Vol.1-4). Oxford: Elsevier. 

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

Kern, M. (2005) CRC Desk Reference on Sports Nutrition. Boca Raton FLA: CRC Press. 

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

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