New course to help students develop skills to promote global health

Students on De Montfort University Leicester's (DMU) new Nutrition BSc could play a key role in improving public health.

The course, launching in September 2019, features research-informed teaching and activities, which will help undergraduates understand the implications of diet on our health at a time when two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese.

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It will interweave solid underlying sciences with nutrition science to offer interventions to tackle obesity and other contemporary health concerns that affect people on a local, national and worldwide level.

Senior lecturer Dr Jessica Jin described the course as the "missing piece of the jigsaw" in the DMU offering.

"We need the block that looks at our daily fundamental need, which is diet," she said.

"It's important to look after the population and consider how to prevent disease using solid science and contribute to healthy ageing.

"Students can pass on their knowledge of the effects of nutrition at different stages of life to help society make healthy choices."

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Combining theoretical and practical elements, the course will take students from farm to fork and science to shelf - the sources and origins of food along with food composition and production.

Students will learn how to translate complex language into simple, friendly terms for a lay audience and have the chance to do a third-year research project of their choice.

Dr Jin - whose area of expertise is diet and the risk of chronic or 'lifestyle' diseases such as cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease and stroke - will bring a wealth of research and development knowledge gained in the food industry in both the UK and China, to her teaching.

She said: "My vision is to try to encourage students to find job experiences and look into any health and nutrition claims of the supplements on the market.

"There are so many and I want our students to be capable of evaluating their impact and establishing the validity of the claims and reliability of the brands."

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Her fellow lecturers have a diverse spectrum of research interests. Dr Louise Dunford specialises in obesity and weight management, sports science is Dr Mariasole Da Boit's field, with eating behaviours and public health eating strategies in the UK and Singapore the specialism of Dr Lourdes Santos-Merx.

"Many courses have a regional and national focus but we will provide a global outlook, looking at Europe, China, Asia, Africa and USA," said Dr Santos-Merx.

"We will look at how to implement nutrition practice nationally and internationally."

The new course also reflects DMU's commitment to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encompassing SDGs 2 and 3 - zero hunger and good health and wellbeing. Future plans include working towards Association for Nutrition accreditation, which is valued by employers.

Graduates can go into fields ranging from public health bodies and agencies to food production, one of the largest industries both nationally and internationally.

For more details about the Nutrition BSc, click here.

Posted on Wednesday 21st November 2018

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