Nutritional Epidemiology

Course code EPID6650Units 10Level 6000Faculty of Health and MedicineSchool of Medicine and Public Health

This course will provide students with an understanding of the epidemiological methods and concepts related to measurement of nutritional exposures and nutritional status, and an understanding of how to apply these methods to research and public health practice. Advanced methods for analysis of dietary intake and nutritional status data are explored. The application of these methods is illustrated in a variety of research and public health surveillance and program evaluation settings.

Not available in 2015

ObjectivesStudents completing this course will develop an understanding of and practical skills in a range of nutritional assessment methods, including anthropometric, dietary and biochemical, which are used in nutritional epidemiological research and in public health practice. They will gain an awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of different nutritional assessment methods, and be able to choose an appropriate method for specific applications. Furthermore, they will also gain an awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of different analytical approaches, and be able to choose appropriate methods for specific applications, and correctly interpret the results of the nutritional epidemiological data. Skills will also be gained in critical interpretation of nutritional epidemiological studies and in comparing nutrition data from different sources. Examples used throughout the subject will be derived from studies in Australia and other developed countries, as well as developing countries especially in the Asia/Pacific region.
ContentModule 1: Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology - seeks to provide the reader an understanding of the scope of nutritional epidemiology as well as some of the problems associated with collecting and interpreting nutritional data. Issues in measuring nutritional exposures, assessment of measurement error, and approaches to reducing error in nutritional research are examined.
Module 2: Dietary Assessment Instruments - presents methods for assessing dietary intakes in individuals suitable for epidemiological studies, and identifies their advantages and limitations. The approach to developing these dietary assessment instruments will be described, and special attention will be given to the cognitive and cultural issues related to dietary assessment.
Module 3: Variation in Dietary Intake: Implications for Design & Analysis - introduces introduce advanced concepts about the measurement and analysis of dietary intake data including: a description of the types of dietary exposures; and the statistical methods for analysis of dietary intake. The concepts of within- and between-person variation in dietary intake will be presented, as well as the impact of this variability on the number of days of intake that need to be measured to assess intake of various nutrients.
Module 4: Validation of Dietary Assessment Instruments & Analysis Concepts - will introduce the epidemiological methods used to assess the reproducibility and validity of dietary instruments but with a focus on food frequency questionnaires. The approach to selecting a referent dietary assessment method will be discussed, as well as the role of biomarkers in validation studies. The statistical methods required for analysing validation studies will also be introduced.
Module 5: Analysis of Nutritional Epidemiological Data - further explores the analytical concepts introduced in Module 4. The methods of adjusting dietary intakes for total energy intake in epidemiological analyses will be demonstrated. Also the methods for correcting the effects of measurement error and strategies for multi-variate modelling of dietary exposure data will be presented and illustrated with examples.
Module 6: Anthropometric Assessment of Nutritional Status - introduces anthropometric measurements, indices and indicators. The principles and application of anthropometric reference data to assessment of nutritional status is explained. Finally the application of anthropometry in the nutritional assessment of populations and individuals is explored and examples are provided.
Module 7: Use of Anthropometry in Epidemiological Studies - examines the use of anthropometry in epidemiological studies covering topics related to under nutrition and obesity in children and adults. Methodological topics on how to select anthropometric indicators and cut off values for a given research question, and the statistical methods required for analysing anthropometric data will be introduced.
Module 8: Biochemical Assessment of Nutritional Status - provides an overview of other methods of nutritional status assessment. Biochemical indicators of nutritional status are introduced and their use in validating dietary intake measures is explored. The advantages and disadvantages of biochemical and physiological indicators of nutritional status are identified.
Module 9: Research Applications of Nutritional Epidemiology - provides an opportunity to synthesise the various nutritional epidemiological methods introduced by critically examining examples of nutritional epidemiological research.
Replacing Course(s)EPID6480 Nutritional Epidemiology A
EPID6490 Nutritional Epidemiology B
TransitionNo transition arrangements are required, as EPID6480 and EPID6490 have not been offered in 2004, and no students remain incomplete.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeEPID6420 Epidemiology A and BIOS6910 Biostatistics A
Modes of DeliveryDistance Learning : IT Based
Distance Learning : Paper Based
External Mode
Teaching MethodsEmail Discussion Group
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsFive Progress Assignments all worth 20%.
Contact HoursEmail Discussion Group: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term