Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cultural and Scientific Issues in Health and Nutrition: Community and Lifelong Education Project

LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course


DEPARTMENT Health, Physical Education and Consumer Studies

DESCRIPTION Learning Outcomes

At the end of the study-unit students will be able to:

Part 1 - Cultural Aspects

- Describe the various factors involved in the discussion of nutrition and culture.
- Give an overview of the historical and socio-economic background to changes in the Maltese diet and cuisine
- Describe the relationship between the current Maltese diet and the so-called Mediterranean diet
- Discuss the influence of technology and changing lifestyles on Maltese eating habits
- Outline the social functions of food (religion, occasion, gifts etc.)
- Describe the symbolic meanings of food as they relate to contemporary attitudes in Malta
- Explain the key features of a number of popular cuisines from around the world.

Part 2 - Issues in Health and Nutrition

- Assess the reliability of health and nutrition research reports appearing in the different media
- Outline the current scientific knowledge in relation to a number of food and health-related topics
- Discuss local lay knowledge and attitudes regarding the above topics
- Identify and access reliable websites for the latest information on nutrition and health concerns

Part 3 - Lifelong and Community Education

- Describe the local and foreign situation with regard to provision of Home Economics extension education.
- Discuss and analyse present and future local needs for Home Economics extension education.
- Outline the various definitions, goals and value of lifelong education.
- Discuss the similarity between the Home Economics mission and the goals of lifelong education.
- Identify and consider the needs of various groups in the local community who would benefit from particular educational interventions.
- Develop competence in planning, implementing and evaluating a community or lifelong educational intervention related to Home Economics


Part 1

This study-unit begins by looking at the theory of food and culture and giving an overview of the social functions and symbolic meanings of foods and their implications on the micro and macro levels. The various cultural factors that influence the choice of foodstuffs, meal patterns and eating habits of different population groups are discussed. The study-unit also describes the socio-historical background to traditional Maltese cuisine and explores the impact of technology, tourism and changing lifestyles on current food choices and eating practices of the Maltese population. Students are also introduced briefly to the characteristics of a number of different ethnic cuisines.

Part 2

The study-unit then continues by focusing on topical concerns regarding the food-health link. Students are exposed to various sources of information in order to familiarise themselves with the latest controversial research and ‘news’ in the fields of health and nutrition, as well as to evaluate the issues discussed so that they can effectively inform others in order to modify food-related behaviours and ultimately improve their quality of life.

Part 3

The third part of this study-unit focuses specifically on the role of Home Economics in Community and Lifelong Education emphasising similarities in the goals of these disciplines related to improving quality of life for individuals. Local Home Economics-related provisions and emerging needs within Community and Lifelong Education are investigated. Guidelines for programme and project needs assessment, planning, monitoring and evaluation are presented and applied to different potential scenarios.

The final part of this study-unit then takes on a practical orientation. It guides students in integrating the knowledge and skills gained in earlier parts of the study-unit in order to plan, develop, implement and evaluate an educational intervention in a community setting.

Reading List

Part 1

- Beardsworth A.& Keil T. (1997). Sociology on the Menu. London: Routledge
- Borg, N. (2001). Maltese wines: Cultural aspects and health issues. Unpublished B.Ed (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta.
- Camilleri, C. & Scerri, B. (2002). Healthy Eating Ethnic Style: Resource Pack for secondary level pupils (including 4 videos and a Teacher’s Handbook). Unpublished B.Ed (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Cassar, C. (Informal paper). Eighteenth Century food habits: Malta, Europe and the Mediterranean.
- Costa, G. (1998). Influences on food choices of Maltese primary schoolchildren. Unpublished B.Ed (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Counihan, C. & Van Esterik, P. (Eds.). (1997). Food and culture: A reader. NY: Routledge
- Harris, M. (1986). Good to eat: Riddles of food and culture. NY: Simon & Schuster
- Mennell, S., Murcott, A., & van Otterloo, A.H. (1992). The sociology of food: Eating, diet, and culture. London: Sage
- Montanari, M. (1994). The culture of food. Oxford: Blackwell
- Parkinson-Large. (1995). A taste of history: The food of the Knights of Malta. Malta: PEG
- Piscopo, S. (2004). Socio-Ecological Factors Influencing Food Choices And Behaviours Of Maltese Primary Schoolchildren. Ph.D. thesis, University Of Birmingham, UK
- Rozin, P. (1996). Sociocultural influences on human food selection. In E.D. Capaldi (Ed), Why we eat what we eat. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, pp 233-263
- Scicluna, J & Mattei, P. (undated). Specialities from Malta for your table. Malta: Round Table (Malta)
- Tannahill, R. (1988). Food in history. London: Eyre Methuen
- Vella, M. (1967). Cooking the Maltese way. Valletta: Cordina’s Emporium
- Vella, S. (2001). Healthy Maltese recipes: A resource for use in the Home Economics Curriculum. Unpublished B.Ed (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Willett, A.C., Sacks, F., Trichopoulou, A., Drescher, G., Ferro- Luzzi, A., Helsing, E. & Trichopoulos, D. (1995). Mediterranean diet pyramid: A cultural model for healthy eating. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61, 6 Suppl., pp 1402S-1406S

Plus a lecturer-provided reading/resource pack

Part 2

- Lecturer-provided reading/resource pack

Part 3

- Bartolo, S. & Camilleri, G. (1996). Home Economics-related courses for adults. Unpublished B.Ed. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Bonello, A. (2000). Nutrition in the community: Development and implementation of a programme for parents of primary school children. Unpublished B.Ed. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Corder, N. (2002). Learning to teach adults: An introduction. Routledge/Falmer
- Draper J. A & Barer-Stein T (Eds.). (1988). The craft of teaching adults. Canada: Culture Concepts Inc.
- Enriquez, S. (1999). Environmental education with, by and for women. Unpublished M.Ed. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta
- Forsyth I, Jolliffe A & Stevens D. (1995). Planning a Course. England: Kogan Press
- Longworth, N. & Keith Davies, W. (1996). Lifelong learning: New vision, new implications, new roles for people, organizations, nations and communities in the 21st Century. Kogan Page
- Rogers, A. (1996). Teaching adults. Open University Press.
- Schembri, S. (2003). Development, implementation and evaluation of a nutrition education course for senior citizens. Unpublished B.Ed. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta.
- Zahra, V. (1998). Promoting heart healthy foods in a worksite cafeteria: A pilot nutrition intervention. Unpublished B.Ed. (Hons) dissertation, University of Malta.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Practical

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

Suzanne Piscopo (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.
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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.