This course is discontinued

ERN4321 – The World Nutrition Situation - Data and Issues

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will critically review some of the most recent statistics and analyses of the world nutrition situation. The sources and methodology used to obtain the statistics will be discussed as well as the explicit or implicit conceptual frameworks underlying the choice of data in various reviews of the world nutrition situation. Furthermore, recommendations that have been developed on the basis of various data/information will be discussed as well as reactions to these.


The nutrition situation is described by information about nutritional problems, as well as context information for analysing the potential causes of the problems. Such information forms the basis upon which goals are set and policies and programmes are planned and implemented at global, regional, national and local level. Nutrition information is also used as indicators for economic and social development, and there may be potential for further and increased use of such information. The importance of such data raises concern about several aspects of quality, validity and relevance. Various frameworks and approaches steer the collection of data and assumptions and short-cuts are often made. To make proper use of the possibilities that nutrition information provides, it is necessary to have an in-depth knowledge of, and a critical view on the various types of data and the information sources.

Learning outcome

After the course, the participants should be able to:

1. Review selected core issues in nutrition analysis, including

  • Approaches to measuring nutritional status
  • The ongoing work on the new global growth
    reference standards
  • Assessment of food and nutrition security –
    outcome vs. process
  • Life course approach to nutrition: the underlying
  • The nutrition transition
  • The double burden of (nutrition related) disease
    (s)communicable and non-communicable
  • The Millennium Development Goals and their
    nutritional dimensions
  • Nutrition and HIV/AIDS

2. Provide examples of alternative theoretical frameworks and models for food and nutrition security analysis

3. Describe current trends in the global food and nutrition situation and the global burden of disease

4. Describe and discuss societal factors affecting vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity and poverty

5. Describe alternative interpretations of the future food supply

6. Describe how changes in food and nutrition
insecurity may be monitored, including compiling
and presenting data for national and international

7. Provide an overview of the key UN agencies and private organizations as sources of important information on the global and national nutrition situation

8. Describe the outcomes relevant to nutrition from major intergovernmental conferences over the last three decades, with emphasis on the World Food Summits and the Millennium Summit, and their follow-up

9. Be familiar with key periodicals, recurrent international technical and policy reports and web-sites of relevance to nutrition (lists to be composed during the course).


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Normally participants should have a BSc in Human Nutrition or documented equivalent. Exemptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Overlapping courses

The content of the course does not overlap with that of other courses at the University of Oslo.


The training/learning includes lectures, seminars and interactive group work and discussions. The course sets special demands to independent reading and critical use of internet. The core staff will be supplemented with external lecturers.


Students will be evaluated on the basis of an individual written exam - 4 hours.


Department/Faculty: Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Akershus University College

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language