This course is discontinued

ERN4322 – Nutrition, Globalisation and Governance

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course will consider some of the theoretical and methodological challenges that become apparent both in different research contexts and in national and international fora where nutrition policy issues are being discussed and formulated. The course will emphasise the importance of having a historical perspective in discussing current and changing manifestations and interpretations of “the nutrition problems”. Such perspective can help explain the shifting concerns and trends in research and action on nutrition over the last few decades, as a background to current priorities.


Different processes of change affect food supply, dietary patterns and nutritional outcomes. Changes may occur at different levels in society, planned or unplanned. Such changes should be understood in the context of multiple and interacting factors, forces and processes: long-term global trends - economic, environmental, cultural and political; national changing economic and ecological conditions, often set in motion by national and local political decisions about how to control and manage available resources including human capital. This requires an analysis of the causality behind observed differences between various groups of people’s access to food, consumption patterns and nutritional health conditions, as a basis for effective action. What is important is to know what factors enter into the web of causality, at what levels action needs to be set in, and who should be the responsible actors to do so. For the practical nutrition planner or programme manager, the idea is to be able to understand some of the linkages and foresee possible impact of more basic causes in society that underlie observed food and nutrition problems. A system understanding is a prerequisite also for effective communication and collaboration with people in other disciplines and professions who can play a role in joint action to promote food and nutrition security for all.

Learning outcome

After the course, the participants should be able to:

I. Issues in Public Nutrition

1. Explain the meaning of often used terms in the contemporary development debate:

  • Globalisation
  • Vulnerability, Sustainable development, Human development Development goals
  • Poverty reduction (PRSP)
  • Capacity development
  • The emergency-development continuum
  • Human rights in development
  • Public-private partnerships
  • The nutrition transition
  • Life-cycle approach
  • Food security vs. Nutrition Security
  • Food systems; “food chain”
  • Alternative food production systems
  • Food trade, standards, and control
  • Food marketing and consumer issues
  • HIV/AIDS and food security; role of nutrition.

2. Provide examples of alternative theoretical frameworks and models for food and nutrition situation analyses.

3. Review the roles and responsibilities of various actors of relevance to food and nutrition security:

  • 3.1 Describe national actors in selected countries working to promote food and nutrition security and relieve hunger and all forms of malnutrition, their overall mandates and mode of work;
  • 3.2 Describe major international actors working to promote food and nutrition security and relieve hunger and all forms of malnutrition, their overall mandates and mode of work;
  • 3.3 Describe current arrangements for harmonisation and co-ordination of policies and programmes relevant to nutrition within the United Nations family.

4. Describe in broad lines the outcome as relevant to nutrition from recent major intergovernmental conferences, especially the International Conference on Nutrition 1992, World Food Summit 1996 and the World Food Summit: five years later 2002, as well as the Millenium Development Goals.

II. Globalisation

5. Discuss the various dimensions of “globalisation” in the current international debate.

6. Describe links between the globalisation processes and food and nutrition security problems and their solutions, as related to:

  • The nutrition transition and the global burden of disease
  • “Food systems”, “food chain”, “foodsheds”
  • Alternative food production systems
  • Food trade, standards, and control
  • Food marketing and consumer issues
  • Measurements and indicators proposed for monitoring progress in reducing vulnerability and food and nutrition insecurity.

III. Governance

7. Explain the concept and principles of “good governance” as currently used in the development debate.

8. Describe how the principles of “good governance” can be applied in nutrition policy formulation and programming.

9. Provide examples of food and/or nutrition policies and programmes, with strengths and weaknesses in light of the principles of good governance.

IV. Life-long learning - keeping oneself professionally updated

10. Should be familiar with key periodicals, recurrent international technical and policy reports and web-sites of relevance to global nutrition (selected 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.


The students will learn through a combination of lectures, group discussions, institutional visits and independent work.


The 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