Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Obesity, Physical Activity and Overall Health

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Food Sciences and Nutrition

DESCRIPTION This study-unit explores the associations between obesity and chronic disease and examines the roles of healthy lifestyle advice, and effective goal setting for physical activity and a healthy diet, in the prevention and management of overweight, obesity and obesity-related problems.

Study-unit Aims:

- To develop an understanding on topical issues and current evidence investigating the role of key nutrients such as fats and sugars and alcohol in weight gain and in the development of chronic disease;
- To review the evidence on popular weight loss diets - what works and what doesn't;
- To provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to the study of obesity and physical activity management across the lifecycle; including weight gain and the obesogenic environment;
- To present updated approaches, including pharmacological and surgical, as well as dietary recommendations and updated evidence based nutrient and activity guidelines on obesity prevention and management; and
- To consider latest recommendations on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep, the role of exercise in obesity prevention.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Describe various emerging treatments including bariatric surgery;
- Report on different dietary interventions and the efficacy and safety behind different weight loss diets including high protein diets, VLCD diets, low GI diets and 5+2 diets amongst others;
- Describe and report on local and international evidence relating to the obesogenic environment;
- Report on the latest evidence and guidelines relating to physical activity and sedentary behaviours and the role of exercise in health and weight management.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate critical thinking skills and an evaluative approach relating to diet, weight loss and exercise reporting;
- Carry out appropriate dietary and nutritional assessments and carry out objective measurements of PA on individuals and populations;
- Report on current obesity prevalence, updates and trends, and give advice on current 'fad diets', and latest evidence based research on obesity and physical activity in a scientific manner; and
- Critically evaluate scientific literature relating to weight loss, deliver practical and scientific evidence based advice on exercise, healthy diets and overall current lifestyle recommendations for effective and sustainable weight loss and management both on an individual and population level.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts

- Wadden T.A. , & G.A., Bray, G.A. (2017). Handbook of Obesity treatment. New York: The Guildford Press.
- Summerfield L.M. & Ellis, S. (2015). Nutrition, Exercise, and Behavior: An Integrated Approach to Weight Management. Cengage Learning.


- British Nutrition Foundation. (1999). Obesity. The report of the British Nutrition Foundation Task Force. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Relevant articles and updated reports as suggested by lecturers.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Practical & Group Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Project SEM2 No 20%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 80%

LECTURER/S Daniel Cauchi
Claire Copperstone (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.