Nutrition 331: Nutrition for Health

Course Orientation

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to

  1. discuss human nutrition for healthy adults.
  2. discuss the role of diet in causing and preventing various diseases, particularly obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.
  3. describe methods used to assess nutrition status.
  4. explain how dietary recommendations are formulated.
  5. describe the methods used to carry out nutrition research.
  6. distinguish sound nutritional information from unreliable nutritional information.
  7. describe a healthy diet and food choices, and explain why such choices will help prevent health problems.

Course Outline

Unit 1 Overview of Nutrition; Assessment of Nutritional Status

Unit 2 General Principles of Research in Nutrition

Unit 3 Dietary Reference Intakes and Diet-Planning Guides

Unit 4 Body Systems and Digestion

Unit 5 The Carbohydrates: Sugar, Starch, and Fibre

Unit 6 The Lipids: Fats, Oils, Phospholipids, and Sterols

Unit 7 Protein and Amino Acids

Unit 8 Metabolism of Nutrients and Energy Balance

Unit 9 The Vitamins

Unit 10 Water and the Minerals

Unit 11 Introduction to Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle, Obesity, and Diabetes

Unit 12 Cardiovascular Diseases

Unit 13 Diet and Cancer

Unit 14 Vegetarian Diets, Alcohol, and Caffeine

Unit 15 What Is the Healthiest Diet?

Course Materials

Textbook and Resources

Sizer, F. S., Whitney, E., & Piché, L. A. (2018). Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies (Fourth Canadian Edition). Toronto: Nelson. (eText)

Note: This is a digital textbook (eTextbook). Access and download it through the link on the course home page.

Wadsworth. Diet Analysis+. Independence, KY: Cengage Learning [online].

Athabasca University Materials

Nutrition 331: Nutrition for Health—Course Orientation. [online]

The Course Orientation you are now reading contains essential information about the structure of the course, the course materials, the evaluation process, and the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully.

Nutrition 331: Nutrition for Health—Study Guide. [online]

The Study Guide lists the objectives for each unit and identifies the pages in the textbook that cover the objectives. It also supplements or clarifies the assigned readings. You should read and understand each objective first, read the assigned pages in the textbook, and then read the commentary. You will need to refer back to the textbook while reading the commentary. In general, you should know the definitions of words that appear in boldface type. When you think you have accomplished the learning objectives of a particular unit, take the Unit Quiz If necessary, review the material before continuing.

Note: The course is based on Units 1–15 of the Study Guide, not Chapters 1–15 of the textbook. You are only required to read the pages of the textbook that the Study Guide directs you to read.

Nutrition 331: Nutrition for Health—Assignments [online]

The assignment instructions will be needed to complete the two credit assignments. We encourage you to look through the assignments after you have finished reading this Course Orientation.


The forms you may need to apply to request extensions, and so on, are available through your myAU Portal.

Suggested Study Schedule (6 months)

Students who approach their studies in a systematic and organized manner are more likely to complete the course successfully than are those students who do not plan a course of action for themselves. Therefore, you are encouraged to follow a study schedule to help you budget your time and schedule your progress in the course.

Please note that the schedule presented is a suggestion only. It is designed to help you complete the course in 23 weeks, which is approximately the time you will have in a six-month course contract period.

Be sure to call your Academic Expert if you have difficulty with the material or if you are unable to adhere to the schedule as suggested. You may, of course, proceed more quickly than is suggested by this schedule.

Remember this guideline in your studies: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Week 1 Read the Course Orientation.
Contact your Academic Expert to make initial contact if he or she has not already contacted you.
Begin work on Unit 1: Overview of Nutrition.
Week 2 Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 1.
Complete Unit 2: General Principles of Research in Nutrition.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 2.
Week 3 Complete Unit 3: DRIs and Diet-Planning Guides.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 3.
Start Assignment 1.
Week 4 Complete Unit 4: Body Systems and Digestion.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 4.
Week 5 Begin work on Unit 5: The Carbohydrates.
Week 6 Complete Unit 5.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 5.
Week 7 Begin Unit 6: The Lipids.
Week 8 Complete Unit 6.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 6.
Week 9 Complete Unit 7: Protein and Amino Acids.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 7.
Request the midterm examination.
Week 10 Complete Unit 8: Metabolism of Nutrients and Energy Balance.
Conduct a thorough review on Units 1–8.
Week 11 Prepare for the midterm examination.
Write the midterm examination.
Week 12 Begin work on Unit 9: The Vitamins.
Week 13 Complete Unit 9.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 9.
Week 14 Begin work on Unit 10: Water and the Minerals.
Week 15 Complete Unit 10.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 10.
Week 16 Complete Unit 11: Introduction to Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle, Obesity, and Diabetes.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 11.
Week 17 Complete Unit 12: Cardiovascular Diseases.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 12.
Week 18 Complete Unit 13: Diet and Cancer.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 13.
Week 19 Complete and submit Assignment 1.
Request the final examination.
Week 20 Complete Unit 14: Vegetarian Diets, Alcohol, and Caffeine.
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 14.
Start Assignment 2.
Week 21 Complete Unit 15: What Is the Healthiest Diet?
Complete the Unit Quiz for Unit 15.
Week 22 Submit Assignment 2.
Review all course material.
Week 23 Prepare for the final examination.
Week 24 Write the final examination.
Congratulations on completing the course!

Student Evaluation

Your grade in Nutrition 331 will be based on two assignments and two examinations.


Assignment 1: Diet Analysis

You should start Assignment 1 after Unit 3, because completing Assignment 1 will help you with the midterm examination. We encourage you to submit the assignment at least four weeks prior to writing the final exam, because the assignment and Academic Expert comments will be helpful for writing the final exam. Assignment 1 is worth 25% of your final course grade.

The assignment requires that you evaluate in detail the nutritional adequacy of your diet using Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, anthropometric data, Dietary Reference Intakes, and Diet Analysis+, a digital program that you will access online. Complete instructions can be found in the Assignment 1 section of your course site.

Save every file from the Diet Analysis+ program to your computer with your name and the correct name of what it is (e.g. your_name_food_intake.doc). Submit all files to your Academic Expert via the online Assignment Drop Box.

The assignment will be returned to you with a grade indicating the number of points you scored and will include the Academic Expert’s comments in the designated assignment drop box

Assignment 2: Nutrition Issue Evaluation

Assignment 2 is designed to help you to critically evaluate nutrition or diet information. You will select a nutrition or health issue covered in Units 11–15 and write a paper of 1000–1500 words that expands on the information given in the Study Guide and the textbook. This assignment is worth 15% of your final course grade. Complete instructions can be found in the Assignment 2 section of your course site. This assignment should be submitted via the online Assignment Drop Box.


You must write a midterm examination covering the material in Units 1–8 when you have completed Unit 8 of the Study Guide. You will write a final examination covering the entire course when you have completed the course. The midterm and final examinations contain a combination of multiple-choice, true/false, definition, and short-answer questions. Please consult the Student Manual for information about requesting an examination and about examination regulations.

Both the midterm and final examinations for this course will be written in an online format. Please consult the Online Exams (MuchLearning) section of the Procedures for Applying for and Writing Examinations in your online Student Manual, and visit for more information.

Both examinations are closed book. You may not consult any books, notes, or other written or printed materials during examinations; however, you may use a simple pocket calculator (no hand-held computers, iPhones, etc.). You will have two hours to complete the midterm examination and three hours for the final examination.

While you are not obliged to request permission from your Academic Expert to write an examination, you are encouraged to consult with him or her about your readiness to write and about examination writing strategies.


Students who are dissatisfied with their grade on any examination or who obtain less than the required passing grade may write a supplemental exam. The higher of the two grades will be recorded as the official grade. There is a fee for supplemental examination services. Only one supplemental is permitted per examination.

To receive credit for Nutrition 331, you must

  • submit Assignment 1 and obtain a mark of at least 60% on it.
  • submit Assignment 2.
  • obtain at least 55% on the final examination.
  • obtain an overall course mark of at least 60%.

The chart below summarizes the course activities and the credit weight associated with each.

  Percentage of Final Grade Deadline
Assignment 1  25 After Unit 13
Assignment 2  15 After Unit 15
Midterm examination  25 After Unit 8
Final examination  35 After Unit 15