Health and Nutrition: A Sustainability Approach

Universidad Veritas

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Health and Nutrition: A Sustainability Approach

  • Host University

    Universidad Veritas

  • Location

    San José, Costa Rica

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Sustainability, Exercise Science, Health Science, Nutrition and Food Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    REQUIREMENTS: It is recommended, but not mandatorily required, that students come
    from a college-major field related to environment or health.
    TOTAL CONTACT HOURS & CREDITS: 48 h.; 3 credits.
    This course introduces people on human nutrition, integrating basic concepts of sustainability
    science with the study of human nutrition. No college-level science background is required; rather,
    the course will provide elementary aspects of the several socio-biological sciences that are
    needed. Its main aim is to provide a nutrition background that will help students make
    appropriate, informed choices from the vast array of foods available in today’s marketplace.
    This course is designed for the person who wants an introduction to nutrition and, who may later
    choose a major in it, or simply wants to improve his/her health and wellbeing, specially taking into
    account the impact that each one of us is making on Earth. Through this course each student will
    have a better overview of what nutrients are and what nutrients and foods do for humans; how
    healthy people can best get the amounts of nutrients and foods they need throughout their
    lifetime; how people –mainly in current times- alter foods and their nutrient content; and food
    and sustainability issues of current interest.
    This is one of the main courses of the CIPSS´s Health and Psychology area, its nature is theoretical
    and participative, and it seeks to clarify the following question:
    How to apply knowledge on nutrition for optimal health, while fostering sustainability?
    In order to answer such a question, the following contents will be focused:
     The importance of nutrition and food in the current context of the world, mainly focusing
    the role of environment, food production and lifestyle choices in wellbeing.
     The basic chemical nature of main nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, lipid, vitamin, mineral,
    water) and the nutrient composition of foods.
     The function and essentiality of nutrients for maintaining homeostatic balance and the
    consequences of over and under consumption of those.
     The physiological basis for nutrient requirements during different life stages (pregnancy,
    lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, old age).
     Causes of food borne illnesses & mind-body imbalances and (un-) healthy food practices.
     Global and local issues of food and nutritional security.
    Along the whole course the following abilities will be fostered:
    • Ability to integrate food security, nutrition and sustainability concepts for
    encouraging proper nutrition for human wellbeing.
    • Ability for understanding the nutrients function along our lives.
    • Ability for critical and historical analysis of human nutrition generalities.
    • Ability for describing current counter nutrition practices.
    • Ability for analyzing the importance of each one´ own diet nowadays.
    The following values and attitudes will be promoted among students:
     Concern for learning to learn
     Concern for solving problems
     Systemic thinking
     Respect for diverse thinking
     Respect for integrative knowledge
     Teamwork and leadership
     Negotiate knowing to inspire confidence and empathy
    The competencies for the Veritas University are reflexive and integral actions that respond to the
    professional profile and contextual problems correctly and with an ethical commitment,
    integrating learning to be, learning to do, learning to know, and learning to live together, within
    framework of continued improvement. Both disciplinary and general competencies are presented
    below, linked to their criteria and evidence of performance for the course on Health and Nutrition.
    Table 1. General and disciplinary competencies and performance`s criteria and evidences for the
    Health and Nutrition course.
    Competencies type Key competencies Performance evidence
    Effectively integrates
    the notions of food security
    and nutrition with those of
    sustainability, to promote
    lifestyles and optimal
    wellness practices.
    Demonstrates a wide and general
    understanding of available nutrition and
    food security concepts and resources.
    ▪ Rich Picture
    ▪ Discussion of issues
    ▪ Essays and reports
    Understands the function and essentiality of
    main nutrients, and the consequences of
    over- or under-consumption of those.
    ▪ Thematic Discussion
    ▪ Readings analysis
    ▪ Mind map
    Demonstrates the importance of human
    homeostatic balance tied to the Earth
    ▪ Study case analysis
    ▪ Project report
    Identifies main global and local issues of
    under nutrition and over-feeding including
    food production.
    ▪ Essays and readings
    ▪ Discussions and Reports
    Seeks to promote life styles and nutritional
    practices for an optimal wellbeing.
    ▪ Class activities
    ▪ Practices in class
    General competencies Performance criteria Performance evidence
    Integrates the necessary
    knowledge, skills and
    attitudes in a strategic and
    flexible way to learn
    continuously considering the
    relation of new information
    with previous mental
    schemes and the possibility of
    a new mental scheme use.
    Learning to learn competence
    ▪ Mind map
    ▪ Thematic discussion
    ▪ Essays
    Integrates the knowledge,
    skills and attitudes necessary
    to learn the skills of teamwork
    and leadership, including
    mentoring and evaluation.
    Teamwork and leadership competence
    ▪ Readings´ discussion
    and analysis
    ▪ Study case analysis
    ▪ Rich picture
    Integrates the knowledge,
    skills and attitudes necessary
    to formulate and carry out
    business` plans and projects
    on their own initiative, setting
    goals and achieving them,
    having motivation to achieve
    Entrepreneurship competence
    ▪ Final Oral
    ▪ Project Report
    ▪ Class reports
    Table 1: Nutrition and health, course´s contents.
    Session Topic UNIT
    1  A general overview of health, nutrition and
    2  Food components and functions
     Human nutrition and counter nutrition
    nowadays: Do we have choices?
    3  Digestion process in the human body
    4  Sustainability principles and nutrition
    5  Water as a macronutrient with no calories
     Chemically safe and biologically dead water
     Nutrition and sustainability issues related with
    micronutrients and essential
    6  Proteins
    7  Carbohydrates
    8  Lipids
     Alcohol
    9  Vitamins
    10  Minerals
    11  Supplements and medicinal herbs
    12  Energy balance and weight management
    13  Pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrition
    14  Child to teen nutrition
     Eating disorders in current society
    15  Older adult’s nutrition
     Healthy aging and the role of nutrition choices
    and lifestyles
    16  Sports nutrition
    17  Planning a healthy and sustainable diet
    18  Nutrition labels
    19  Under nutrition and over feeding in the world
    20  Nutritional and food safety and sustainability in
    the current world
    21-24  Class Project (along the term) IV: BUILDING AND ASSESSING
    This course help students connect current lifestyles --where fast food, supplements, organic meals,
    home-gardens and sustainability and nutritional issues are present-- with their own current
    lifestyle, and also with their future career. Activities are planned at a basic and intermediate level
    and they promote teamwork exercises in class, case studies analysis, essays, and research projects.
    The methodology of theoretical and participative exercises, together with readings, discussions,
    and assignments and some super market, university cafeterias or grocery store visits will provide a
    clearer approach for personal and professional development, noticing similarities and differences
    in the nutrition, sustainability and health aspects. Teacher's role is mainly to mediate, facilitate
    and guide the teaching and learning process, allowing students to build and self-regulate their own
    learning, based on their previous knowledge. The student is active, the teaching-learning process
    is collective and socialized, as it fosters social integration and enhance learning and respect.
    Along the course the expository method is used both by the professor and by students,
    individually and in groups, always promoting the participation of the students through their direct
    intervention in discussions, extension of concepts and analysis of the topics exposed. This course
    wills intent to integrate an open opportunity to expand more awareness into the nutritional
    issues. The importance of promoting education to enable healthy food choices, the need to
    explore, test and choose sustainable food alternative and learn from these processes, contribute
    to the following learning strategies.
    Learning strategies:
    Research projects facilitate independent learning, the internalization of new concepts and those
    covered in class. Each student will work on a research project about the estimation of each
    student´ energy and macronutrient needs and intake for presentation in class, to the rest of their
    classmates. This project involves the analysis of the recommended dietary allowance, the resting
    metabolic rate, the energy need, and the acceptable range for dietary macronutrients intake, for
    each student.
    Visitations: Some short fieldtrips to grocery stores, university cafeterias or supermarkets nearby
    will promote students' assimilation, reflection and the internalization of knowledge, sensitizing
    through observation and interaction.
    Essays: Argumentative, reflexive/philosophical and expositive/descriptive essays will be used as
    an academic writing tool that will allow students to express, interpret, and evaluate one or more
    topics by formally including adequate justification. The point is to show evidence of readings and
    to demonstrate the ability to compose explanations clearly.
    Readings. Virtual forum and discussion of issues in class will be used as an academic tool that will
    allow the students to show their understanding in topics assigned as readings in each unit.
    Mental maps will be developed as a means to contribute to the analysis of nutritional health
    lifestyle processes and eating behavioral patterns and their health impacts. They will also help
    contribute to the understanding of the interdependencies between food, emotions, physical
    activity and health. One subtype of this tool it`s the “rich picture”, a technique which will help us
    to open thematic discussions in order to come to a broad, shared understanding of a situation.
    Activities in the form of individual and group presentations will provide opportunities for the
    students to communicate both orally, written and in graphic form (like rich pictures), and also for
    sharing the results of their readings` and study cases` analysis assigned and research work, and to
    demonstrate the appropriation of issues of interest.
    Case studies analysis. The resolution of case studies educates students in three essential aspects:
    knowledge management, reflective practices, and the ability to adapt to change.
    Educational resources:
    In order to guarantee good development of the course, therefore to guarantee learning, the
    following resources are available: an updated bibliographic database, multimedia equipment that
    students can use for their individual presentations; whiteboards and other school equipment for
    weekly sessions, and readings provided by the educator. All of these complement the suggested
    projects and provide the students with higher possibilities of knowledge own ship. Lessons will
    take place in the classroom and on the field. Students have access to the institution's library during
    opening hours’ study areas or computer labs and any other convenient area on the university's
    campus for individual study. Likewise, the university provides free Wi-Fi access to all students,
    professors and staff throughout the campus.
    The university also places the CANVAS Learning Management System at the disposition of
    students and staff ensuring pedagogical flexibility making it easier to integrate new technologies
    into the courses, and ensure seamless and effective communications between the student and
    professor at all times through an app center.
    In order to make the course or program better, competencies´ based evaluation, compiles and
    evaluates evidence by taking into account feedback providing pre-established criteria. The
    evaluation of the course must be consistent with the teaching competencies and methodology.
    For each evaluation item there is a rubric, which, although it gives a score, it is a quantitative and
    qualitative description of the student's performance.
    General format for written assignments: Even though a specific rubric is provided for each
    assignment, there is a general format for all written assignments: Header with name, class and
    date; Letter size page; Arial 11 and double spacing, Margins 3x3 centimeters; APA format for
    bibliography sources. The following items will be taken into account for all of the presentations:
    preparation and content, organization and style, student´s critical opinion and punctuality.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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