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PUBH102 Foundations of Health Promotion

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of contemporary public health nutrition issues and priorities is central in the application of nutrition-related learning to the prevention and improvement of population health problems. The unit will assist students to understanding the philosophy, frameworks and process of community nutrition practice and their application. The unit covers the major contemporary nutrition issues in, national and global populations and communities, including nutrition transitions, food literacy, and the impact of non- sustainable food systems on food security and health. The unit provides a focus on the analysis of the determinants and management of population-based nutrition issues by exploring historical and contemporary community nutrition policy and practice, including advanced theory and practice in nutrition education. This unit will also focus on integrating community engagement experiences and philosophies into applied settings. The aim of this unit is to help students equip themselves with the knowledge, understanding and skills to work as culturally competent reflective practitioners in community and public health.

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 - Articulate the principles and philosophy of public health, health promotion, nutrition education and primary health care (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6)

LO2 - Evaluate major public health nutrition issues and priorities, and population groups at risk, focusing on migrants and Indigenous Australians (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA6)

LO3 - Evaluate food and nutrition systems and their relevance to community nutrition practice (GA5)

LO4 - Develop a culturally appropriate program (planning, implementation, evaluation) to address nutrition issues at the community level (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA6)

LO5 - Reflect critically on the application of the principles of community engagement in community nutrition settings (GA2, GA4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include: 

Public Health Nutrition component 

  • Conceptual frameworks for Public Health and Community Nutrition 
  • Nutrition Epidemiology – nutrition-related chronic disease 
  • Nutrition standards (Dietary Guidelines – including culturally-specific guidelines, Recommended Dietary Intakes) 
  • Food regulations 
  • Food systems and sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Principles of nutrition education, learning theory and practice  

 Community Nutrition component 

  • Historical perspectives of Community Nutrition 
  • Nutrition issues and special groups (migrants, religion, socio-economically disadvantaged and other at risk communities and populations, with a focus on Indigenous Australians) 
  • Public health nutrition programs  
  • Needs assessment 
  • Community nutrition program planning 
  • Intervention implementation 
  • Program evaluation 
  • Community engagement to address food and nutrition issues.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In keeping with the sequence of learning outcomes in this unit, the learning and teaching strategy adopted comprises three phases that are designed to provide students with a developmental learning experience. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of the knowledge needed understand the practice of community and public health nutrition. It builds on this by progressing to activities that support the development of a theoretical understanding of concepts and principles needed to inform the skills development. The final stage involves approaches that support students in the application of their understanding in the development of skills needed i.e. practice as a nutritionist in community or public health through embedding a community engagement experience. Thus, overall, the approaches used in this unit have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively and logically support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each stage. 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, reflective/critical thinking activities and community engagement 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. Specific approaches include: lectures where students will develop the theoretical knowledge related to food product design and development and tutorials and community-based activities where students will apply theoretical learnings. Students will complete a minimum 30-hour community engagement activity. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.

Note: Students who have not completed the ACU Child Safe Organisations module in work placement units will complete this 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 this strategy are reflected by integration of three appropriate assessment tasks. What follows are examples that have the requisite purpose: The first written task will provide students with the opportunity early in semester to get feedback on how they are meeting the learning outcome related to theories, principles and philosophies in public health nutrition. This task will be submitted early in the semester with feedback provided prior to completion of the second assessment task. 

The second written task will allow students to demonstrate their ability to examine a topical issue related to community and public health nutrition. This task will be due early in the second half of semester . 

The final assessment task provides students with the opportunity to take part in the needs assessment, planning, implementation or evaluation of a nutrition education program for a defined community group. This final project report will be submitted following the end of teaching. Each task will allow unit coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes and attainment of graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

ACU online Child-Safe Organisations Module

Enables students to meet requirement for all undergraduate students to complete module



GA2, GA4

Completion of minimum 30 hours of community engagement and reflection.

Enables students to demonstrate evidence of a minimum 30 hours of suitable community engagement activities



GA2, GA4

Written task  

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



GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6

Written task  

Enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of unit content.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA6


Enables students to apply knowledge and skills in community and public health nutrition.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Hughes, R. & Margetts, B. M. (2011). Practical Public Health Nutrition. Oxford, United Kingdom: Wiley 

Hughes, R. & Margetts, B. (2011). The public health nutrition intervention management bi-cycle: 

a model for training and practice improvement. Public Health Nutrition, 15(11), 1981-8, doi:10.1017/S1368980011002011 

Lawrence, M., and Worsley, T. (2007). Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.  

Spark, A., Obenchain, J., and Dinour, L.M. (2015). Nutrition in Public Health (2nd Ed.). Milton Park, UK: Taylor & Francis. 

Worsley, T. (2008). Nutrition Promotion: Theories and methods, systems and settings. Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin 

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