Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 206 - Life Cycle Nutrition

15 Points

Semester 1



Provides students with a general background and introduction to: the New Zealand diet; food preparation and meal patterns; dietary requirements during pregnancy and lactation, childhood and adolescence, lifestyle changes, maturity and ageing.

Course Outline

This course provides students with a general background and introduction to the study of public health nutrition including an introduction to the nutrients, major nutritional issues across the lifecycle, and current threats to the nutritional wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Key Course Objectives

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be able to:

Critique the principal research methods used to study the relationship between nutrition and health

Critically evaluate how nutrition research is translated into dietary advice

Use the nutrition guidelines to analyse and evaluate the diets of individuals and population groups

Discuss important macro- and micro-nutrients required for human health across the lifecycle including the amounts needed, major food sources, and main functions in the body

Discuss contemporary issues in public health nutrition and their impact on population health

Course Assessment

  • 5% Dietary guidelines and nutrient reference values (assignment 1)

  • 25%  Class test                 

  • 35%  Food record assignment (assignment 2)                                       

  • 35%  Final Exam                          


Dietary guidelines and nutrient reference values assignment

The aim of this assignment is to familiarise students with the New Zealand (NZ) dietary guidelines for adults and the Australian and NZ Nutrient Reference Values, and to practice using these tools to evaluate the diets of individuals and groups.  This assignment also prepares students for assignment two, which involves collecting a three-day diet record and comparing individual food and nutrient intake with the NZ dietary guidelines and NRV’s.  This is a short-answer assignment aligned with course objective three: To use the nutrition guidelines to analyse and evaluate the diets of individuals and population groups. 


Class test

The test will cover information from approximately the first 10 lectures and tutorials and assignment 1.  The format will be multiple choice and longer answer questions. 


Food record assignment

The aim of this assignment is for students to assess their own food and nutrient intake and compare it with appropriate food and nutrition guidelines and nutrient reference values. A key component of the assignment involves personal reflection on how dietary choices impact on nutritional adequacy. For this assignment students will record everything they eat and drink for 3 days (two week days and one weekend day) and then enter and analyse the adequacy of their diet using FoodWorks dietary analysis software. Once the diet is assessed, students will compare their findings with the New Zealand Food and Activity Guidelines, Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs) and other relevant Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs). Students will then identify any areas where their diet did not meet the guidelines, and discuss how these could be met in the future. Students will also discuss whether their current way of eating is health promoting and identify potential areas for improvement.


Readings or Recommended Textbooks

One recommended reading is provided for each session.  Students will be expected to have read these prior to the sessions, and to be prepared to discuss the issues and questions arising from them.

Prescribed Readings

  • There are prescribed readings assigned to each lecture.

Reference texts

  • Recommended textbook: Whitney, E. et al. Understanding Nutrition: Australia and New Zealand 3rd edition. 2017, Cengage Learning Australia
  • Nestle M.  What to Eat.  New York:  North Point Press (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 2006
  • Willett WC.  Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2001

Students are also expected to be familiar with the following references, though not specifically listed as required readings: 

National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and Ministry of Health (New Zealand). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand: Executive Summary. September 2005. Available at: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/pagesmh/4678

Ministry of Health. NZ Food, NZ Children. Findings of the 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey. November 2003. Available at: http://www.moh.govt.nz/notebook/nbbooks.nsf/0/658D849A2BAC7421CC256DD9006C C7EC/$file/nzfoodnzchildren.pdf

Ministry of Health. A Focus on Nutrition. Key findings from the 2008/09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey. 2011. Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/focus- nutrition-key-findings-2008-09-nz-adult-nutrition-survey

Ministry of Health. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults: A Background Paper. October 2003 Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/food-and-nutrition-guidelines-healthy-adults- background-paper 

Ministry of Health. New Zealand Health Survey:  Annual update of key findings 2012/13. 2013. (Sections on Health Status, health behaviours and risk factors and Health Conditions for adults and children, starting pages 5 and 38). Available at: http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/new-zealand-health-survey-annual-update-key- findings-2012-13

Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, WHO Technical Report 916, WHO, Geneva 2003 (Recommendations on page 56) Available at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf

Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020, WHO, Geneva 2013 (Voluntary Global Targets on page 5) Available at: http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd-action-plan/en/ 

Course Director