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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 2Multi-mode
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  • Semester 2Online Unscheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

Optimal nutrition is a cornerstone of human health and well-being. Food security is a means by which optimal nutrition is delivered to individuals, communities and populations. This unit will introduce students to the major concepts and issues around global nutrition and food security. Emphasis will be placed on the Nutrition Transition phenomenon, which reflects the interconnectedness of food consumption, health (and illness), socioeconomic and environmental factors, and sustainable development. Students will explore challenges to nutrition and food security from the standpoints of availability, access, utilisation and stability, as well as other risk factors and broader issues of food industry influence, culture and colonisation, globalisation and new media. Causes of major nutrition issues, their prevalence and severity will be examined, along with their impact on health and development. Application of community-/population-level nutritional assessments and interventions will then be considered, especially in the context of developing countries and humanitarian response to crises. This unit will conclude with models for the development of programs and/or social enterprises aimed at improving food security. This unit aims to familiarise students with global nutrition concepts and food security.

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
LO1Demonstrate specialised knowledge of local and global determinants of adequate nutrition and the interrelationships between nutrition and social, cultural, economic and environmental and other factorsGC1, GC2
LO2Compare and contrast different food systems, as well as the determinants and consequences of food insecurity at local, national and global levelsGC1, GC2, GC7
LO3Assess nutritional status of a community or population, its food system and its food security, with an emphasis on identifying vulnerabilities and enhancing program sustainabilityGC1, GC2, GC7, GC9
LO4Critically appraise interventions for addressing hunger, malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency and food security, especially in terms of program sustainabilityGC1, GC2, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO5Integrate knowledge of nutrition and food security issues with the design of effective and culturally appropriate strategies or interventions to address these issuesGC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 


Nutrition and food security in a global context 

  • Fundamental concepts and definitions in nutrition: macronutrients, micronutrients and nutrient reference values 
  • Global food production and consumption patterns; cultural and seasonal variations 
  • Food production and distribution  
  • Food labelling and classification systems 
  • Food security and material hardship 
  • Challenges to food security: climate change, population growth and demand for food, inequality in food access and distribution, economic forces. 
  • Global organisations relevant to nutrition and food security 


Nutrition, food security and health 

  • Obesity in the context of malnutrition 
  • Nutrition transition 
  • Building resilience in food systems 


Global socio-politics of food 

  • Technological innovation 
  • Dietary guidelines  
  • Migration and nutrition 
  • Global agricultural trends 
  • Sustainable development and food security 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit uses an active learning approach where activities support students to acquire essential theoretical knowledge related to nutrition and food security. Students work with each other to develop a deep understanding of content to inform both the analysis of the social consequences and underlying determinants of nutrition-related disease and the critical analysis of public health nutrition interventions to enhance food security. Asynchronous online content (e.g., lecture content, readings and discussion forumss) via the ACU Learning Management System (LMS) supports this acquisition. In addition to activities on the LMS site, students are supported to synthesize their knowledge by attending tutorials with their peers.

PUBH642 is offered in both multi-mode and online mode. In multi-mode tutorials are delivered face-to-face on-campus. In online mode, students are given the opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online tutorial classes (virtual classroom using various technologies) to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge with other students.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Please note assessment is the same for students undertaking either multi-mode or online mode. In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks and obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50%. 

Assessment tasks directly align with PUBH642 learning outcomes and graduate attributes and the national core competency framework of public health developed by the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia 2016. Tutorial activities are aligned with assessment tasks, which will engage students in active learning and help them to prepare for the assessments.

Assessment tasks are based on essay style which provides an opportunity for students to develop extended arguments and in depth learning of contemporary global nutrition and food security issues. PUBH642 assessments are designed to simulate the work of a public health practitioner working either at the policy level, or as a front line field officer engaged in community nutrition enhancement. The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to critique and develop their own community health interventions.

In Assessment 1, students demonstrate specialised knowledge and skills in information gathering by describing a nutrition-related disease, e.g. nutritional deficiency. In Assessment 2, students extend their knowledge by critically analysing a nutrition related disease in a population setting. In Assessment 3, students further develop their understanding by applying knowledge in an authentic way through the development of a community-based nutrition intervention.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: Written task which will enable students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of interrelationships between nutrition and disease within vulnerable populations, and their solutions.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment 2: Written task which will enable students to demonstrate skills in critical analysis of a nutrition-related epidemiological issue.


LO1, LO4, LO5

Assessment 3: Written task which will enable students to further develop their understanding of the complexity of population level nutrition vulnerabilities, and apply this understanding through the development of a community-based nutrition intervention.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Development Initiatives. (2021). 2021 Global Nutrition Report: The state of global nutrition.

Erdman, J. W., MacDonald, I., & Zeisel, S. H. (2012). Present knowledge in nutrition (10th ed.). International Life Sciences Institute.

Grosso, G.J., Mateo, A., Rangelov, N., Buzeti, T., & Birt, C. (2020). Nutrition in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. European Journal of Public Health, 30(Supplement_1), i19–i23.

Nnakwe, N. E. (2018). Community nutrition: planning health promotion and disease prevention (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Temple, N. J., & Steyn, N. P. (2016). Community nutrition for developing countries. AU Press.

United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition. (2017). By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition and leave no one behind. Discussion Paper. 

Whitney, E. N., Rolfes, S. R., Crowe, T., & Walsh, A. (2019). Understanding nutrition (4th Australian & New Zealand edition.). Cengage Learning Australia Pty Ltd.

Willett, W. (2013) Nutritional epidemiology (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press [ACU Ebook]

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