Teaching nutrition in an International Master of Public Health program

Elliot Berry, Bayo Fatunmbi, Dorit Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The health of populations is related to the norms and characteristics of society and its socio-economic organization. The causes of food-related ill health are located at the national and international levels and the cure must be sought in good governance. Thus, it is obvious that a Master's Degree in International Public Health must include a thorough overview of the "food chain" from "plough to plate" within the political, economical, socio-economic changes, environmental, industrial, scientific, and health contexts. Nutritional deficiencies are addressed by a variety of measures, including food supply and utilization programs, specific supplementation for high-risk groups, and food fortification to reach a general population. All are part of a wide-based public health nutrition approach, applicable in developed, redeveloping, and newly developing countries. This article is based on experience in teaching Public Health Nutrition to a mixed group of foreign students from different countries. Our goal is to prepare students for a variety of public health careers related to nutrition and health. The aim of this course is to introduce current roles and aspects of food and nutrition policy, focusing on food and nutrition security, human rights for food and nutrition, and the complex interactions among local and global systems. Students are introduced to nutrition screening, assessment, and research skills, and nutrition in emergency situations and in disaster relief. During the course the students learn about the design and the evaluation of nutrition interventions at the individual, community, and national level. The course gives a broad-based examination of major themes related to development and underdevelopment, poverty and wealth, equality and inequality. It also introduces program planning from the perspective of international organisations such as the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation of the United Nations. More specific objectives include: 1. To define the nutritional problems at the level of the individual, family, the community, and the nation. Use of Causal Modelling. 2. To learn in what ways data may be gathered. 3. To suggest methods of intervention according to priorities. 4. To monitor the effects of such interventions. 5. To assess the scientific evidence underlying the connections between diet and disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-326
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Feb 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • MPH training
  • Public health nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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