Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 305 - Community Nutrition

15 Points

Semester 2



This course builds on Lifecycle Nutrition by providing students with a general overview of the determinants of population eating behaviours and the implications of current dietary behaviours and patterns on health.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 111, 206


This course addresses the broader determinants of population food choices, the health implications of modern dietary practices, and possible strategies for improving the nutrition of populations.

Key course objectives

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

  1. Describe the role of nutrition in public health

  2. Describe the factors that influence how and what people eat

  3. Identify how current eating behaviours impact on the health of population groups

  4. Describe how culture influences how and what people eat

  5. Identify key components of nutrition interventions to address nutritional issues for population groups

  6. Evaluate the breadth of existing nutrition services available in the local population and the key challenges to improving the nutrition of the population

Course structure

There are two one hour lectures and a one hour tutorial each week

Lecture and tutorial schedule


Lecture Topic

Tutorial Topic

Related learning outcomes


Introduction to the course

Intro to assignment 1: match up with your partner and FoodWorks



Nutrition in public health



Taste, preference, and knowledge

Food stamps video – an introduction to food budgeting



Socioeconomic factors influencing food choices



Food availability and the global food supply

Supported time in computer lab to work on assignment 1

2, 5


Consumer advocacy

2, 5


Food composition

Supported time in computer lab to work on assignment 1

2, 5


Food and our environment

2, 5


Food advertising

The built nutrition environment and food choices


2, 5


Food labelling and pricing interventions

2, 5


Food policy

Introduction to assignment 2 – nutrition essay on a population group

2, 5


Obesity and developing community interventions

2, 3, 5


Nutrition and cardiovascular disease

That sugar film – diet disease relationships




Nutrition and cancer



Nutrition and diabetes

That sugar film – diet disease relationships




At the coalface – Nutrition Foundation of NZ interventions

5, 6


Other local community nutrition initiatives

Intro to assignment 3 – cultural food video. Match up with your partner.


5, 6


At the coalface – DHB nutrition interventions

5, 6


At the coalface – Healthy Families NZ interventions

Supported time to work on video assignment in computer lab


5, 6


At the coalface – Healthy Auckland Together interventions

5, 6


mHealth interventions in practice

Developing community nutrition interventions

5, 6


Student video presentations



Student video presentations

No tutorial




Student video presentations


Course assessment

  • 35%  Healthy eating on a budget assignment (assignment 1)              
  • 25%  Nutrition Essay on a Population Group (assignment 2)
  • 10%  Cultural food video presentation (assignment 3)                                       
  • 30%  Final Exam


Healthy eating on a budget assignment

In this assignment you will be assigned a “family” and will be asked to design a healthy menu to feed the family on a budget for three days. You will complete this assignment in pairs. You will be required to come up with a menu, do the “shopping” (to make sure you keep to budget), and evaluate the nutritional quality of the menu for the family. Your menu must be affordable, palatable, and healthy.


Nutrition essay on a population group

For this assignment you will choose a nutritional issue for a specific population group in New Zealand e.g. for a particular age, gender, or ethnic group. You will write an essay describing what your nutritional issue is, the size of the problem, and the short- and long-term health implications for your population group.  You will identify one potential nutrition intervention from lectures and the literature which could help to improve your nutritional issue, and using evidence, explain why you think this intervention has promise to improve this issue, and what the challenges might be.


Cultural food video presentation

For this assignment, you will create a short video in a pair with another student. You are asked to choose one food that you and/or your partner identify with as a cultural or traditional food and consider the role of the food in your culture/ tradition, the history of the food within the culture, and what role the food plays in the modern context. You will present this information in a short (maximum 2 1/2 minute) video in class and you will be involved in peer review of your classmates video assignments.

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 Course Book

  • Brownell K. Food Fight: The inside story of the food industry, America’s obesity crisis, and what we can do about it. McGraw Hill, 2004
  • There are also prescribed readings assigned to each lecture.  

Students may also find the following references useful, although they are not specifically listed as required readings: 

Course Director