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Nutrition & Public Health


Admission requirements

None, but Biology and/or Chemistry (at high school level or taken at LUC) are recommended.


Public health nutrition is a multidisciplinary area of expertise. To solve global problems in nutrition and health, physiological and biomedical aspects as well as the social and behavioral context are important to take into consideration. This course will focus on understanding the main function and determinants of diet and its relationship with major global public health challenges (eg. infectious diseases, cancer and cardiovascular disease).

Also, the course will focus on translating evidence from epidemiological research to public health policies and health promotion programmes, both at the local, national and international level. It will address common study designs and methods to evaluate the role of nutrition in public health as well as intervention programs addressing nutrition (e.g., behavior, food choice) and/or its societal context (eg. food policies, legislation of food fortification, and food supply at work and schools).

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the metabolism and function of basic nutrients

  • Describe causes and consequences of malnutrition (i.e. considering under-nutrition, over-nutrition as well as obesity).

  • Interpret the relation between nutrition and infectious diseases (i.e. HIV and malaria) and non-communicable diseases (i.e. cancer and cardiovascular disease).

  • Recognize biological, environmental and psychological factors related to nutrition.

  • Critically interpret results from nutritional epidemiological studies.

  • Translate scientific findings on nutrition and health into dietary recommendations and public health policies.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Debates (eg. about food fortification)
Exercises (eg. about dietary data collection and energy expenditure)
Journal club (eg. about recent scientific findings on nutrition & health)
Nutritional assessment laboratory (eg. body composition measurements).

Assessment Method

Individual Assignment Food Fortification, 20%
Group Assignment: Systematic review, 30%
Group Assignment: Poster presentation, 15%
In class participation (eg. Journal clubs and debates), 5%
Final Exam (open questions), 30%

Reading list

Michael J. Gibney, Barrie M. Margetts, John M. Kearney , Lenore Arab. Public Health Nutrition. The Nutrition Society. 2015 (e-book).


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Prof. dr. Jessica Kiefte-de Jong,