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Last updated:

May 17, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Presents major nutritional problems that influence the health, survival, and developmental capacity of populations in developing societies. Covers approach implemented at the household, community, national, and international levels to improve nutritional status. Explores the degree to which malnutrition can be prevented or reduced prior to achieving full economic development through targeted public and private sector interventions that address the causes of malnutrition.

Course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to familiarize and engage the student in (a) major existing or emerging issues in international nutrition that influence the health, survival, and development capacity of people living in developing societies and, (b) various direct and indirect approaches to improving nutritional well-being of populations. One basic premise in the course is that large segments, indeed the majority of people in most developing (low income) countries remain food insecure and nutritionally deprived with respect to both energy-yielding macronutrients (notably protein and fat) and essential micronutrients. Their survival from childhood through adulthood is threatened and their quality of life suffers because of undernutrition, the severity of which ranges from chronic food insufficiency to famine. Infants, young children and women of reproductive age are considered most at-risk of the consequences of undernutrition, which include infection and complications during pregnancy. Although advances in socio-economic and development status tend to reduce undernutrition, the course explores interventions that can selectively and progressively reach those in need and affordably reduce food and nutritional insecurity, and enhance the public's health prior to achieving substantial gain in economic development. The second reality of malnutrition in developing countries is a rising tide of obesity affecting certain regions of the world (eg, Latin America, Northern Africa and East Asia) and, within most low-income countries in certain population segments. These populations are experiencing a "nutrition transition," that may be giving rise, in part, to an increasing trend in non-communicable disease as a cause of death. One can conceptualize a "continuum" of nutritional status on which populations lie, ranging from severe undernutrition and milder degrees of deprivation to "normal" status, to being mildly overweight through to obesity. A given population may exhibit greater nutritional stress at either extreme. Societies where both under- and overnutrition coexist as public health problems are said to be experiencing a "dual burden" of malnutrition. Where a population lies on the continuum can be thought to evoke different individual, household, community, national, and international responses. Preventive responses are often modified by socio-economic, infrastructural, cultural, civil, and political considerations. Thus, nutritional problems of public health importance in developing countries have complex and, usually, long-acting causes. Adequate solutions to these causes (a) often require action across multiple sectors of society, (b) should be evidence-based and (c) pursued in the context of national policy and resources. Most of the attention in this course address the burden and consequences of undernutrition, including protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, their causes, epidemiology and approaches to prevention at various levels of society. Several "emerging" or special topics will be also be addressed, including the "nutrition transition" toward obesity, nutritional interactions in HIV/AIDS affected populations, nutrition and reproductive health, and the epidemiology of famine.


There are no formal prerequisites for taking the course. However, students are expected to be familiar with basic principles of nutrition, study about the types and causes of malnutrition, and be or become familiar with resource constraints typically facing developing countries. Students are strongly encouraged to broaden their reading in these areas during the term in order to participate in an informed way in class discussions, especially in areas of assessment and intervention, and to write an authoritative paper on nutritional problems and programs within a selected country.

Course Curriculum

    • Lecture 1: Current & Emerging Issues in Nutrition, Health, & Survival 00:55:00
    • Lecture 2: Protein-Energy Malnutrition and Undernutrition 00:55:00
    • Lecture 3: Vitamin A Deficiency and Child Health, Survival, and Vision 00:55:00
    • Lecture 4: Iodine, Iodine Deficiency, and Iodine Deficiency Disorders 00:55:00
    • Lecture 5: Iron Deficiency and Anemia: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions 00:55:00
    • Lecture 6: Breast and Complementary Feeding 00:55:00
    • Lecture 7: Nutrition Surveillance and Program Monitoring 00:55:00
    • Lecture 8: Global Food Security: US Food Aid from Policy to Programs to Results 00:55:00
    • Lecture 9: Economic Analysis of Human Nutrition in Developing Countries 00:55:00
    • Lecture 10: Community-Based Nutrition Interventions 00:55:00
    • Lecture 11: Famine 00:55:00
    • Lecture 12: Nutrition and Reproductive and Pregnancy-Related Health 00:55:00
    • Lecture 13: Zinc Deficiency 00:55:00
    • Lecture 14: Nutrition and HIV Infection 00:55:00
    • Lecture 15: The Nutrition Transition 00:55:00

About the instructor

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