Improvements in nutritional health are increasingly being recognised as important factors in effecting improvements in the health of the population. It is therefore important that individuals especially those who are responsible for the wellbeing of others, have a good understanding of nutrition and diet.
Learners following the “Introduction to Nutrition” course are introduced to the basic concepts of nutritional health through exploring a number of definitions and different ways of describing diet and food intake. The characteristics of macronutrients and micronutrients in terms of their chemical composition, digestion and human metabolism will be explored, and related to the nutritional requirements for different individuals. Other topics such as diseases and conditions related to nutrition, requirements of different age groups in the population, practices in the food industry, health education, and labeling of foods will also be examined.
As part of their assessment, learners will carry out a theoretical quantitative study of the food intake of a chosen individual, analyze it in relation to the health and lifestyle choices of the individual chosen, and prepare a plan to improve the nutritional intake of the individual.
However participants are to be aware that this is to be used as a case study and the recommendations made are only for assignment purpose and to check that participants have understood the lectures delivered. It is important to note, that this course does not turn participants into nutritionist.
This is a 20 hr guided learning course. Students need to invest further hours in the course, which will include private study and home assignments.
Lessons are held as indicated on the prospectus and website.
This course aims to cover concepts of nutritional health. Participants will get to know the characteristics of nutrients and will be able to understand influences on food intake and nutritional health. The course also enables participants to be able to analyze dietary information received from an individual to make recommendations to improve nutritional health.
Learning Outcome 1; Describe the main concepts of nutritional health
• Nutrition: food, diet, nutrients, malnutrition, under nutrition, deficiency, over nutrition, overweight, obesity, energy balance, body mass index; Dietary Reference Values, Reference, Nutrient Intakes
• Dietary intake: Balance of Good Health, food groups, food pyramid
Learning Outcome 2; Identify the characteristics of nutrients
• Carbohydrates: monosaccharide, disaccharides, polysaccharides: starch, non starch polysaccharides; sugar substitutes (e.g. artificial sweeteners)
• Proteins: amino acids, peptides, polypeptides
• Lipids: triglycerides, fatty acids: saturated, unsaturated; trans, cis; lipoproteins, cholesterol
• Vitamins: fat-soluble: vitamins A, D, E and K; water-soluble: B group, C
• Minerals: iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, selenium, zinc
• Other diet-related consumption: contribution of water, dietary fibre, alcohol
Learning Outcome 3; Describe the influences of food intake and nutritional health
• Population groups: developed world, less developed world; situation in Malta, families/households, children and young people, adults, older people, pregnant and breast feeding mothers
• Risks to health: non-insulin dependent diabetes, cardiovascular disease; food allergy, sensitivity, intolerance; under nutrition, nutrient deficiency, mental health (e.g. anorexia, bulimia); accident risk, alcohol-related disease
Learning Outcome 4; Use dietary information from an individual to make recommendations to improve nutritional health.
• Record of food intake: record (to include details of food relevant to the analysis, eg cooked, raw, with/without skin, fried, steamed), over one week period including meals, snacks, drinks (including alcoholic drinks and mixers), confectionery, supplements
• Sources of nutritional information: food analysis database or printed tables
• Quantitative analysis: to include: energy, protein, fat, iron, vitamin C, fibre, proportion of energy from fat
• Lifestyle and other needs: e.g. personal preferences, economic, social, cultural, availability of time
The following are the suggested pre-requisites and/or entry requirements needed:
• Completed Compulsory Education.
• Functional skills in spoken and written English, as well as basic familiarity with concepts of nutrition.
Course participants may be awarded either an MCAST Certificate of Attendance or an MCAST Certificate of Achievement.
MCAST Certificate of Attendance
MCAST Certificate of Achievement
If the student intends to obtain a Certificate of Achievement, she/he is required to sit for an assessment/s. Assessment/s may take various forms such as a home assignment, class assignment, practical test and time constrained test. However, the assessment/s is not compulsory and an applicant may choose not to sit for it.
There are no additional costs or special materials/equipment to bring, but a computer plus internet is needed.