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Nutrition Science: Lifestyle Medicine

Discover the preventative role of diet and nutrition for lifelong health and the relationship between mood and food.

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Laid on a brown wooden floor are: a set of white scales, a blue towel, a water bottle, a pair of blue and white trainers, a bowel of fruit, an iPad, an iPhone, a measuring tape and some small weights.
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Unpack the factors that promote health and wellbeing in adults

Poor diet and lifestyle choices can lead to an increased risk of some diseases, affecting our lifelong health.

On this four-week course, you’ll explore the many factors at play that can help promote health and wellbeing in adults.

Delving into the role of diet, physical activity, stress, and environment on preventative medication, you’ll understand how nutrition and movement can positively or negatively influence health.

Explore the relationship between diet and non-communicable diseases

You’ll unpack the critical relationship between diet and non-communicable (chronic) diseases.

This exploration of evidence-based learning will help you understand exactly how nutrition can lead to an increased risk of some diseases.

It will also give you the opportunity to learn how to evaluate a range of information including system reviews and observation studies in the research environment.

Understand the role of social and environmental factors in influencing lifestyle

As you delve further into the relationship between food and health, you’ll explore the role of social and environmental factors in influencing lifestyles, such as shift work, intermittent fasting, and sleep.

With this knowledge, you’ll understand the many contributors to health and wellbeing.

Learning from the experts and research academics at the world-leading Rowett Institute, you’ll finish the course with a deep understanding of the relationships between diet, movement, and lifelong health.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds ALEX JOHNSTON: Hello, I’m Professor Alex Johnston, based at the Rowett Institute, which is part of the University of Aberdeen. We are one of the prestigious nutrition research centres in Europe. In this FutureLearn lifestyle medicine course, we’re going to be looking at how lifestyle therapeutic approaches can be used in treating, managing, and preventing disease. Over the four weeks, we will look at the impact of nutrition, sleep, and physical activity on health and well-being, and spend some time focusing on hot topics such as stress, mindfulness, and the effects of social life and environment on lifelong health.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 seconds We will look at latest and emerging research and technology in this area, including the importance of timing of eating, sustainable diets, and tools to track and monitor your physical activity. The knowledge you gain on this course will allow you to assess factors which impact on health outcomes at a population level. And you should be able to evaluate the range of available evidence. The course will be of interest to those from a wide range of backgrounds, and particularly broaden the knowledge of those in health care professionals, and those in allied professions. The course is open to all, and is delivered completely online. Therefore, it’s available 24 hours a day, so you can choose when and where to study.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds The course is delivered through videos, podcasts, quizzes, and activities, with input from international experts, and a team of health researchers and academics. Throughout the course, you will have opportunity to discuss your ideas with your fellow learners and tutors. We look forward to welcoming you on this course.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Preventative role of diet and nutrition for life-long health

    • Welcome to week 1

      Welcome to week 1! This week we will focus on the relationship between diet, health and non-communicable diseases. We will also try to identify how nutrition can positively and negatively influence lifelong health.

    • Introduction

      This activity will present the epidemiological approach in evaluating the associations between diet and health. Furthermore, we explain what are dietary patterns and how do they link with various health outcomes.

    • The role of protein and bioactives

      Let's have a closer look at diet and which food constituents may promote health and longevity. Meet Prof. Baukje de Roos who will discuss the role of bioactives and join our discussion on protein for healthy ageing.

    • Gut health

      The human large intestine is home to the largest and most diverse group of bacteria in the human body. Learn more about their important role in maintaining human health.

    • End of the week summary

      Hope you enjoyed week 1 material. It is time for some hands-on activities and applying theory into practice. We also encourage you to share your thoughts on the discussion forum.

  • Week 2

    Physical activity and health

    • Why physical activity matters?

      Welcome to week 2! Physical activity is one of the major lifestyle components determining health status. But why is it so important and how much is enough?

    • Physical activity for health

      Physical activity is mainly associated with body weight status, composition or strenght. There is however a large body of evidence linking physical activities with various health aspects, such as mental health or immunity.

    • Measuring physical activity

      In the past, the assessment of physical activity was challenging and relied mainly on often imprecise questionnaires. Our expert, Dr Heather Morgan, will discuss the pros and cons of modern technologies for tracking PA and health.

    • End of week summary

      This week we discussed physical activity and its importance for health. Now is the time to test your knowledge and reflect on what you have learned in the discussion forum. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Week 3

    Stress and resilience on mood and food

    • Welcome to week 3

      Welcome to week 3! about the relationship between lifestyle and mental health. Is there a magic dietary bullet to help improve our mood? Our experts will share findings from their research on this topic.

    • Give your head a rest

      The role of mental hygiene is often underestimated when we talk about health and disease. Our expert will share their insights on the importance of sleep and mindfulness to promote health and long-term wellbeing.

    • Stress and health

      No doubt, stress is an unavoidable component of our everyday life. But how does it affect our behaviour and it is possible to reduce its impact on our lifestyle choices?

    • Mindfulness in practice

      We hope you enjoyed the content of this week and will be able to apply this knowledge in your everyday life or professional practice. This activity gives you a chance to take part in a mindfulness session. Did it work for you?

    • End of week summary

      We hope this week was an interesting journey and helped you to explore the very complex links between mental and physical health. See what you have learned in our self-test quiz!

  • Week 4

    The influence of environment and social factors on health

    • Welcome to week 4

      If we want to know the secrets to longevity we should really look closer at the lifestyles of people who live the longest. Learn about Blue Zones and what are the common lifestyle features of people from those regions.

    • Work patterns, socio-economic factors and health care provision

      Some aspects of our lifestyle are more difficult to control than others, like socioeconomic factors or the quality of health care provision. Furthermore, we explore the latest findings in chrononutrition research.

    • Eating for our planet

      Previously we focused on individual or community factors contributing to lifelong health. In this activity, we will take a wider perspective and talk to the experts about sustainable lifestyles that's good for us and the planet.

    • End of week summary

      This week we were looking at the wider circle of factors determining our health status. Please join our discussion forum to reflect on the topic and share your views with other learners.

    • End of course video

      We hope you enjoyed the course and you will continue your journey of learning!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the preventative role of diet and nutrition for lifelong health.
  • Describe the role of physical activity and movement to positively influence health.
  • Discuss the relationship between stress and resilience on mood and food.
  • Discuss environmental & social factors influencing health, wellbeing and longevity.
  • Evaluate a range of hierarchy of evidence from systematic reviews to observational studies as applied in the research environment as evidence-based literature.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in health, including allied health professionals and those working in health care or the food system.

It will also be of interest to those looking to enhance their CPD.

If you want to further your knowledge, you may be interested in these courses, from the same provider, that share the same overall learning outcomes:

Who will you learn with?

I lead a Research Team as a Nutrition Scientist based at the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen. I am interested in appetite across the life course. I am also a UK Registered Nutritionist.

I am a teaching fellow at the Rowett Institute. My latest scientific interests encompass the sustainability of the human diet, the effect of plant protein on metabolic health and the environment.

Who developed the course?

University of Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen is the 3rd oldest Scottish and 5th oldest UK University. With 14500 students from 120 countries, it is a world leader in medical research, energy, environment, law and business.

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