Module code: BMSM043

Module Overview

This module will lead to an understanding of the rationale behind current approaches to care of patients in obesity and weight management. It also provides a detailed appreciation of dietary lipids, including their sources of origin, biochemistry, functions and essential roles in health. Building on this, the module will critically examine and evaluate evidence for the roles of specific dietary fatty acids in the prevention and management of disease.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

WHYTE Martin (Biosciences)

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: 115

Lecture Hours: 17

Tutorial Hours: 3

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes some or all of the following topics: ¿ Definitions and epidemiology of obesity, including maternal and child 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; bariatric surgery and physical interventions; effectiveness of treatment strategies; very low-calorie diets; fad diets; ¿ Consequences of obesity and dietary fat intake: including aspects of morbidity; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease. ¿ Lipids: structure and functional roles; fatty acid biochemistry and nature of essentiality; sources of lipids in the diet; n-3:n-6 ratio; efficiency of conversion to long-chain n-3 PUFAs. Sustainability issues with regard to fish oil fatty acids/alternative sources ¿ Lipid, lipoprotein and cholesterol metabolism ¿ Pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and thrombosis: atherogenicity of lipoproteins ¿ Dietary fat and disease epidemiology with emphasis on cardiovascular disease ¿ Dyslipidaemia and cardiovascular disease; influence of type of dietary fat; lipid-lowering strategies ¿ Membrane structure and function and effects of diet; role of essential fatty acids in brain and retinal development; eicosanoid metabolism; prostaglandins, leukotrienes and cytokines - role in the modulation of inflammatory and immunological responses; dietary n-3:n-6 ratios in relation to eicosanoids and inflammation ¿ Clinical applications of dietary fatty acids ¿ The effect of food structure and macronutrient composition on dietary lipid metabolism ¿ Current public-health policies relevant to obesity, and dietary guidelines for dietary fat and fatty acid composition

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate: ¿ their knowledge ¿ the application of knowledge in practical settings ¿ critical thinking ¿ use of the evidence base through use of appropriate literature The summative assessment for this module consists of ¿ Coursework: a range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the module. The coursework questions cover a variety of approaches to test skills and knowledge and to allow students to develop areas including essay writing, data analysis, written communication skills, and practical application of knowledge Addresses learning outcomes 1-8 Formative assessment: ¿ There are opportunities throughout the module for formative feedback, including during the module dinner ¿ During the module, students have the opportunity to read an up-to-date research paper and to present it to the group. Immediate peer and faculty feedback is provided. Feedback ¿ The module organiser will be available for further discussion as necessary ¿ A Discussion Board will be available in SurreyLearn during and after the module. ¿ Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessments

Module aims

  • To review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features and management of obesity
  • To review the physiology of energy metabolism with particular emphasis on the regulation of energy intake and expenditure
  • Consider the role of bariatric surgery and understand the link with appetite regulation
  • To critically examine the epidemiology of obesity, dietary lipids and disease
  • To provide an appreciation of dietary lipids, including their sources of origin, biochemistry, transport pathways, functional roles and nature of essentiality to health.
  • Provide an understanding of the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, CHD, non-alcoholic fatty disease in relation to current research.
  • Understand the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in inflammation and immune function
  • Understand the role of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics in relation to lipid metabolism
  • Critically evaluate the evidence in support of a therapeutic role for dietary fatty acids in the prevention and management of disease
  • Understand and review current guidelines and policies for obesity and the intake of dietary fat and fatty acids

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the physiological regulation of energy intake and expenditure K
002 Define the global importance of obesity in epidemiological terms and describe the epidemiology of obesity, dietary lipids and disease CK GCC
003 Debate the influence of nutritional factors versus environmental factors in the pathogenesis of obesity and related diseases CKPT E, SS
004 Compare and contrast the effectiveness of various obesity treatment and management strategies, including prevention policies and bariatric surgery CP E
005 Describe major dietary issues and the scientific rationale underlying the current consensus on dietary guidelines for lipids and essential fatty acids CK SS
006 Explain lipid biochemistry and lipid-mediated cardiovascular risk and how dietary lipids modify the course and outcome of disease, including role of dietary fatty acids as therapeutic agents CKP
007 Discuss the need to avoid stigmatizing language and images for obesity in public health, clinical practice and research KPT EE, RR
008 Develop the skills to examine/write a case study involving obesity and lipid-related risk factors that could be improved with dietary/lifestyle advice CPT E

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 grade descriptor for qualification at level 7 in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) ¿ use group work to continue to build students¿ confidence in the critical evaluation of scientific literature. Develop skills in presentation which will be useful in BMSM013. ¿ allow students to develop bonds with their peers and staff in order to foster a good team spirit which will be beneficial for this and future modules. This is achieved through social function and group space discussion areas during session breaks ¿ engage students with different professional backgrounds to maximise their learning by drawing on their own expertise and experiences to contribute to class discussions. The course attendees include UK and non-UK nationals in a variety of healthcare roles. Time is allowed for discussion and debate after each presentation and facilitated by the module organiser. The learning and teaching methods include: ¿ Lectures ¿ Class discussions based on lectures, ¿ critical evaluation of topical journal articles (group work), ¿ case studies and ¿ a bespoke evening meal, designed to consolidate learning during the module. The healthy fats dinner, which is followed by the healthy fats quiz, designed to consolidate learning during the module.

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: BMSM043

Other information

Can be taken as a stand¿alone module. Addressing the 5 pillars: Digital Capabilities: Students on the programme have a wide range of digital capabilities, due to the varying nature of their professions and prior experience. Group work whereby students prepare presentations in a short space of time develops the skills and confidence required for the effective dissemination of science. As in other modules, students are encouraged to work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools (Whatsapp, Teams, Zoom) to communicate. These are key skills that are increasingly important to the modern nutritionist, working in a variety of settings and teams. Sustainability: It is an aspiration to include more dialogue on sustainability and food security in this module, with consideration of environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects, where an obesogenic diet is often related to non-sustainable practices. Guidelines for recommending particular foods can create issues for sustainability of natural resources. Resourcefulness and resilience: students on the module will be at various stages in their journey; it could be their second taught module out of nine, or it could be their ninth. Students at the earlier stages discuss strategies with those in the later stages, to plan workloads which must often be fitted into a busy working life. This is encouraged during coffee and meal breaks. Meals are taken at round tables to encourage discussion and the ¿coffee queue¿ encourages introductions and small steps to developing a network of support in the module and overall programme.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nutritional Medicine MSc 2 Compulsory 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 2024/5 academic year.