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NUTR101 Introduction to Nutrition OR EXSC118 Nutrition and Exercise

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the changes and challenges to human nutrient requirements across the lifespan, and their impact on growth, development and health, is essential when applying learning to practice in nutrition science with individuals and communities. In this unit diet and nutrition as they relate to the human life stages are explored, including the mechanisms by which food and nutrients influence normal physical and cognitive development and how physical and cognitive states affect nutrition status. Nutritional issues relevant to the stages of pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and ageing will be covered. Dietary nutrient requirements and differences in dietary guidelines (e.g. Australian Dietary Guidelines) across the lifespan are addressed, including lifestage nutrition issues such as disease and disease prevention. Inequalities in nutrition-related health, especially as it relates to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other at-risk groups will be examined as will theories and practice of nutrition education. To prepare students for work in a variety of individual and community settings, different strategies to appropriately communicate nutrition messages to these groups and individuals across the lifespan are explored. This unit aims to assist students to build a strong base from which to develop and deliver nutrition education related to food and nutrition throughout the lifespan.

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
LO1Explain differences in nutrient requirements at various human life stages and how nutrient status affects growth and developmentGC1, GC7, GC9
LO2Apply dietary guidelines to make nutrition recommendations to meet the needs of individuals at different life stagesGC1, GC2, GC7
LO3Use different strategies to communicate nutrition messages for individuals across a variety of life stagesGC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO4Design appropriate nutrition education resources for addressing relevant nutrition issues across a variety of life stages, including groups that experience inequalities in nutrition-related health, at-risk groups and culturally specific groupsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


Topics will include: 

  • growth and development, measurement and monitoring across the lifespan 
  • nutrient requirements, guidelines and  recommended dietary intakes across the lifespan 
  • diet and physical activity assessment in individuals, subgroups and populations theory and practice 
  • food and nutrient intakes and physical activity at each life stage 
  • food and nutrition related issues across the lifespan 
  • food and nutrition related issues for Aboriginal and Torres Trait Islander people
  • food and nutrition related issues for other at-risk groups, with consideration of the social, historical and political context of these issues 
  • food and nutrition relevant to pre-conception 
  • food and nutrition during pregnancy and lactation 
  • food and nutrition throughout childhood (infant, toddler, child) 
  • food and nutrition in adolescence 
  • food and nutrition through young, early and middle adulthood 
  • food and nutrition in older adulthood 
  • food and nutrition for disease prevention 
  • nutrition education and communication skills, learning theory and practice 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

In keeping with the sequential learning outcomes in this unit, the learning and teaching strategy adopted comprises three phases that are designed to provide students with a developmental learning sequence. The unit begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of the knowledge needed to understand food and nutrition throughout the lifespan. It builds on this by progressing to activities that support the development of a theoretical understanding of concepts and principles needed to inform the skill development. The final stage involves approaches that support students in the application of their understanding in the development of skills needed. 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.

Each week, a workbook module will be released containing the information on a specific life stage or group that experiences inequalities in nutrition-related health. This phase is primarily self-directed learning that includes online learning approaches, with a focus on a flipped classroom approach which have previously demonstrated greater learning outcomes for students. Students can progress at their own pace with the support of the teaching team who will be available through online discussion forums and in person. Individual tasks such as additional reading material that can aid learning, weekly quizzes to test understanding of each topic and reflective/critical thinking activities embedded within these modules assist students to both consolidate and progress understanding of the concepts presented. In-person tutorials will help students develop the skills needed in delivering nutrition education through active learning techniques, case-based learning, group activities and cooperative tasks. Each week will focus on a communication strategy that can be utilised in nutrition education which assists students in applying knowledge of nutrition.

The strategy and approaches used 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 in learning activities

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 complete this unit, students need to obtain an aggregate mark of equal to or greater than 50%. A range of authentic assessment tasks that help students develop the necessary knowledge and skills for working with diverse populations have been used in ways that support the development sequence of the learning and teaching strategy. The tasks have been selected as they reflect a number of ‘real-world’ scenarios that are encountered by nutritionists. What follows are examples that have the requisite purpose:

Assessment Task 1 is a written task that requires students to demonstrate understanding of food and nutrient requirements across the lifespan and written communication skills.

Assessment Task 2 builds on students' ability to deliver nutrition messages using a variety of communication strategies to address real-world scenarios.

The last assessment tasks requires students to use knowledge and communication skills gained from previous assessment tasks to deliver nutrition education to diverse groups.

Short, formative multiple-choice quizzes based on the key learnings of each module are included at the conclusion of each module. These are designed to assist students in consolidating knowledge of the unit content and provide immediate feedback on learning.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 - Case Study: 

Requires students to demonstrate understanding of key knowledge and written communication skills. 


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2 - Tutorial Workbook

Requires students to apply key learning and demonstrate their communication skills.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3 - Multimedia Communication Task

Requires students to apply their unit learning and demonstrate their 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. 

Brown, J.E., Isaacs, J., Krinke, B., Lechtenberg, E.,& Murtaugh, M. (2014). Nutrition Through the Life Cycle (5th Ed.). Cengage Learning. 

Croxford, S. (2015). Food and Nutrition Throughout Life. Allen & Unwin. 

Langley-Evans, S. (2015). Nutrition, Health & Disease: A Lifespan Approach (2nd Ed.). Milton, Australia: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Whitney, E., Rolfes, S. Rady, Crowe, T., & Walsh, A. (2022). Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand Edition (5th Ed.). Cengage Learning Australia. 

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