Nutrition and Health: Science, Food and Marketing

Ref: C3744453

In one way or another we are all practical nutritionists, from a bewildering choice of foods and surrounded by often complex dietary advice and confusing, sometimes misleading, advertising we choose what to eat and how much to eat. The subject of nutrition includes aspects of biology, medicine, sociology, economics and more, it is a fascinating, controversial and evolving subject. This course will introduce the basics of nutrition science in relation of everyday foods and provide information and insights to help navigate the maze of media and marketing stories about foods, diets and health. We will discuss how food manufacturers, government and the media use and misuse nutrition science and how nutrition related messages are devised, regulated and delivered. This course will not tell you what to eat and what not to eat, the aim is to help you make better informed choices and be a more critical consumer of foods and their health related messages.

Course aim

An introduction to the science of nutrition and health and how foods and diets are marketed using sometimes accurate and sometimes misleading or incomplete information. Students will gain an understanding of topical food and health issues.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss the main nutrients and food groups, how much do I need in my daily diet, the results of not consuming enough and of consuming too much. Appreciate why it is difficult to make conclusive scientific statements about many topical nutrition and health areas.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of dietary energy, energy balance and the short and long-term effects of consuming too little and too much energy. The history and geography of the 'obesity epidemic' and how science, health authorities, food companies and the media have responded to the epidemic.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basis of nutrient requirements and dietary guidelines; how they are devised and why sometimes they are controversial and need to be changed and updated. Describe the major nutrient shortfalls around the world and the consequences for health and human development.
  • Critically evaluate the ways in which foods, drinks and supplements are are marketed on the basis of health and functional claims. Give concrete examples of both good and bad labelling and marketing of foods in relation to health and functional claims.
  • Critically evaluate the ways in which nutrition and health issues and news stories are reported in the media and by nutrition pundits and 'gurus'.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Nutrition and Health: Science, Food and Marketing

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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