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Nutrition Politics and Policy (FOOD90040)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeFOOD90040
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Formerly FOOD90027

This subject critically examines the scientific, policy and political debates regarding the relationship between food, nutrition and health. The social, economic, commercial, scientific and regulatory processes and structures that shape food consumption patterns, the nutritional quality of foods, and the dietary health of the population will be explored. This includes an evaluation of governments’ food, agricultural and nutrition policies.

Topics include:

  • The science and politics of formulating dietary guidelines, nutritional reductionism in nutrition research, and debates over definitions of healthy and unhealthy foods
  • Changing dietary patterns, the nutrition transition, food security, the “obesity epidemic”, and other health outcomes
  • The socio-economic, commercial and environmental influences on food choices and dietary patterns
  • The production, nutritional quality, marketing and consumption of highly processed foods and beverages
  • Food industry strategies for food reformulation, and the development and marketing of fortified and functional foods
  • Food labelling, and nutrient and health claims regulations
  • The use of nutritionally-enhanced crops and fortified micronutrient deficiencies
  • Dietary guidelines and choices to create ecologically sustainable food systems
  • Policy approaches to regulating food quality, food consumption, food marketing, and food industry practices.

The subject will draw upon the disciplines of the sociology and politics of food systems, food and nutrition policy, public health nutrition and public health, and will consider Australian and international case studies.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • Describe and analyse the social, economic, commercial, political, scientific, educational and regulatory processes that shape food production quality, food consumption patterns and dietary health
  • Describe and evaluate the government policies and industry approaches and strategies that shape food production and consumption with respect to dietary health
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key frameworks, concepts, arguments and debates in the literature relating to nutrition politics and policy

Last updated: 14 August 2019