Module code: BMSM004

Module Overview

This module is designed to be a clinically orientated and practical course. It will lead to an understanding of the rationale behind current approaches to care of patients in obesity and weight management, as well as to anorexia and eating disorders.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

WHYTE Martin (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 125

Lecture Hours: 25

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Some or all of the following topics


• Definition as BMI; limitations of BMI as a concept; body fat content
• Epidemiology of obesity: effects of age, sex, ethnicity, geography and socio-economic status
• Aetiology of obesity: genetic factors; environmental effects, dietary patterns; endocrine abnormalities; energy balance regulation; hormonal, metabolic and physiological influences on energy expenditure; appetite regulation; theories of satiety; abnormal eating patterns
• Distribution of body fat: android and gynoid obesity; genetic and hormonal influences
• Obesity management: implementing diet and lifestyle changes; surgery and physical interventions; effectiveness of treatment strategies; very low calorie diets; fad diets
• Motivational interviewing workshop
• Consequences of obesity: morbidity; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, CVD.


• Epidemiology of diabetes
• Classification, main features, increasing prevalence, theories in relation to refined carbohydrates
• Mechanisms of blood sugar control and insulin action: carbohydrate and fat metabolism
• Aetiology: Type I, insulin secretion, b-cell dysfunction; Type II, defective insulin secretion insulin, effect of fetal nutrition, link with obesity; factors affecting insulin sensitivity - genetic, nutritional, environmental,  pharmacological
• The metabolic syndrome - including current debate about the usefulness of the concept
• Potential role of micronutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes
• Atherogenic dyslipidaemia as a consequence of disturbed fat metabolism in the diabetic state
• Tissue damage in diabetes: CVD, diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, cataract, retinopathy,  etc.
• Free-radical damage in diabetes: glycation and tissue damage; protection from free radicals; increased micronutrient demand
• Clinical consequences of poor glucose control
• Hypoglycaemia: iatrogenic and spontaneous
• Dietary management: balancing the diet; dietary management with insulin therapy; non-starch polysaccharides; eating patterns; physical activity; weight reduction and very low calorie diets; nutritional supplementation to enhance glucose control and minimise tissue damage, potential liabilities of nutritional supplementation
• Treatment with pharmacological agents: drug-nutrient interactions

Eating Disorders

• Anorexia and bulimia: incidence, metabolic and pathological consequences; nutritional and psychological factors in aetiology; treatment of eating disorders - hospitalisation, pharmacological treatments, nutritional treatments, psychological therapy

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework assignments collectively comprising a maximum of 5000 words, which may include a compulsory element. 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their subject knowledge and understanding (see above) and the development of their cognitive and transferable skills (see above) through the assimilation and appraisal of the literature to address the coursework questions.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Coursework:  a range of subject areas are assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module
• Students are required to submit electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive feedback electronically in SurreyLeam and Module Organisers will be available for
further discussion if necessary.

Module aims

  • To review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features and management of obesity, diabetes and eating disorders.
  • To review the physiology of energy metabolism with particular emphasis on the regulation of energy intake and expenditure.
  • To review the role of nutritional factors in the pathogenesis of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • To evaluate critically the role of micronutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes.
  • To appreciate the value of motivational interviewing for behaviour change in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain the physiological regulation of energy intake and expenditure K
2 Define the global importance of obesity and diabetes in epidemiological terms K
3 Review the treatment of eating disorders and the role of nutritional support K
4 Debate the influence of nutritional factors versus environmental factors in the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes C
5 Compare and contrast the effectiveness of various obesity treatment and management strategies C
6 Assess the relative contribution of nutritional, pharmacological and lifestyle factors in the management of diabetes, obesity and eating disorders C
7 Apply the technique of motivational interviewing to context of diabetes and obesity T
8 Evaluate the impact of clinical intervention of obesity treatment and management strategies in own clinical practice T
9 Use research literature and full range of library and online resources for module assignments T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to be aligned with the descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

The learning and teaching methods include:

• Lectures
• Workshops
• Journal club
• Class discussions

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMSM004

Other information

This module is only available to students on the Nutritional Medicine programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutritional Medicine MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.