Health and Nutrition: A Sustainability Approach
San José, Costa Rica
Area of Study
Environmental Sustainability, Health and Exercise Science, Health Science, Nutrition and Food Science
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4 - 5
Hours & Credits
COURSE NAME: HEALTH AND NUTRITION: A SUSTAINABILITY APPROACH
COURSE CODE: HHD-1070
REQUIREMENTS: It is recommended, but not mandatorily required, that students come
from a college-major field related to environment or health.
TOTAL CONTACT HOURS & CREDITS: 48 h.; 3 credits.
This course introduces people on human nutrition, integrating basic concepts of sustainability
science with the study of human nutrition. No college-level science background is required; rather,
the course will provide elementary aspects of the several socio-biological sciences that are
needed. Its main aim is to provide a nutrition background that will help students make
appropriate, informed choices from the vast array of foods available in today’s marketplace.
This course is designed for the person who wants an introduction to nutrition and, who may later
choose a major in it, or simply wants to improve his/her health and wellbeing, specially taking into
account the impact that each one of us is making on Earth. Through this course each student will
have a better overview of what nutrients are and what nutrients and foods do for humans; how
healthy people can best get the amounts of nutrients and foods they need throughout their
lifetime; how people –mainly in current times- alter foods and their nutrient content; and food
and sustainability issues of current interest.
This is one of the main courses of the CIPSS´s Health and Psychology area, its nature is theoretical
and participative, and it seeks to clarify the following question:
How to apply knowledge on nutrition for optimal health, while fostering sustainability?
In order to answer such a question, the following contents will be focused:
The importance of nutrition and food in the current context of the world, mainly focusing
the role of environment, food production and lifestyle choices in wellbeing.
The basic chemical nature of main nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, lipid, vitamin, mineral,
water) and the nutrient composition of foods.
The function and essentiality of nutrients for maintaining homeostatic balance and the
consequences of over and under consumption of those.
The physiological basis for nutrient requirements during different life stages (pregnancy,
lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, old age).
Causes of food borne illnesses & mind-body imbalances and (un-) healthy food practices.
Global and local issues of food and nutritional security.
Along the whole course the following abilities will be fostered:
• Ability to integrate food security, nutrition and sustainability concepts for
encouraging proper nutrition for human wellbeing.
• Ability for understanding the nutrients function along our lives.
• Ability for critical and historical analysis of human nutrition generalities.
• Ability for describing current counter nutrition practices.
• Ability for analyzing the importance of each one´ own diet nowadays.
The following values and attitudes will be promoted among students:
Concern for learning to learn
Concern for solving problems
Respect for diverse thinking
Respect for integrative knowledge
Teamwork and leadership
Negotiate knowing to inspire confidence and empathy
COMPETENCIES, CRITERIA & EVIDENCES
The competencies for the Veritas University are reflexive and integral actions that respond to the
professional profile and contextual problems correctly and with an ethical commitment,
integrating learning to be, learning to do, learning to know, and learning to live together, within
framework of continued improvement. Both disciplinary and general competencies are presented
below, linked to their criteria and evidence of performance for the course on Health and Nutrition.
Table 1. General and disciplinary competencies and performance`s criteria and evidences for the
Health and Nutrition course.
Competencies type Key competencies Performance evidence
the notions of food security
and nutrition with those of
sustainability, to promote
lifestyles and optimal
Demonstrates a wide and general
understanding of available nutrition and
food security concepts and resources.
▪ Rich Picture
▪ Discussion of issues
▪ Essays and reports
Understands the function and essentiality of
main nutrients, and the consequences of
over- or under-consumption of those.
▪ Thematic Discussion
▪ Readings analysis
▪ Mind map
Demonstrates the importance of human
homeostatic balance tied to the Earth
▪ Study case analysis
▪ Project report
Identifies main global and local issues of
under nutrition and over-feeding including
▪ Essays and readings
▪ Discussions and Reports
Seeks to promote life styles and nutritional
practices for an optimal wellbeing.
▪ Class activities
▪ Practices in class
General competencies Performance criteria Performance evidence
Integrates the necessary
knowledge, skills and
attitudes in a strategic and
flexible way to learn
continuously considering the
relation of new information
with previous mental
schemes and the possibility of
a new mental scheme use.
Learning to learn competence
▪ Mind map
▪ Thematic discussion
Integrates the knowledge,
skills and attitudes necessary
to learn the skills of teamwork
and leadership, including
mentoring and evaluation.
Teamwork and leadership competence
▪ Readings´ discussion
▪ Study case analysis
▪ Rich picture
Integrates the knowledge,
skills and attitudes necessary
to formulate and carry out
business` plans and projects
on their own initiative, setting
goals and achieving them,
having motivation to achieve
▪ Final Oral
▪ Project Report
▪ Class reports
Table 1: Nutrition and health, course´s contents.
Session Topic UNIT
1 A general overview of health, nutrition and
I: NUTRITION GENERALITIES
AND THEIR RELATION WITH
2 Food components and functions
Human nutrition and counter nutrition
nowadays: Do we have choices?
3 Digestion process in the human body
4 Sustainability principles and nutrition
5 Water as a macronutrient with no calories
Chemically safe and biologically dead water
Nutrition and sustainability issues related with
II: NUTRIENTS´ FUNCTION
micronutrients and essential
11 Supplements and medicinal herbs
12 Energy balance and weight management
13 Pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrition
III: SPECIAL NUTRITION CASES
AND SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES
14 Child to teen nutrition
Eating disorders in current society
15 Older adult’s nutrition
Healthy aging and the role of nutrition choices
16 Sports nutrition
17 Planning a healthy and sustainable diet
18 Nutrition labels
19 Under nutrition and over feeding in the world
20 Nutritional and food safety and sustainability in
the current world
21-24 Class Project (along the term) IV: BUILDING AND ASSESSING
MY BEST & PERSONALIZED
This course help students connect current lifestyles --where fast food, supplements, organic meals,
home-gardens and sustainability and nutritional issues are present-- with their own current
lifestyle, and also with their future career. Activities are planned at a basic and intermediate level
and they promote teamwork exercises in class, case studies analysis, essays, and research projects.
The methodology of theoretical and participative exercises, together with readings, discussions,
and assignments and some super market, university cafeterias or grocery store visits will provide a
clearer approach for personal and professional development, noticing similarities and differences
in the nutrition, sustainability and health aspects. Teacher's role is mainly to mediate, facilitate
and guide the teaching and learning process, allowing students to build and self-regulate their own
learning, based on their previous knowledge. The student is active, the teaching-learning process
is collective and socialized, as it fosters social integration and enhance learning and respect.
Along the course the expository method is used both by the professor and by students,
individually and in groups, always promoting the participation of the students through their direct
intervention in discussions, extension of concepts and analysis of the topics exposed. This course
wills intent to integrate an open opportunity to expand more awareness into the nutritional
issues. The importance of promoting education to enable healthy food choices, the need to
explore, test and choose sustainable food alternative and learn from these processes, contribute
to the following learning strategies.
Research projects facilitate independent learning, the internalization of new concepts and those
covered in class. Each student will work on a research project about the estimation of each
student´ energy and macronutrient needs and intake for presentation in class, to the rest of their
classmates. This project involves the analysis of the recommended dietary allowance, the resting
metabolic rate, the energy need, and the acceptable range for dietary macronutrients intake, for
Visitations: Some short fieldtrips to grocery stores, university cafeterias or supermarkets nearby
will promote students' assimilation, reflection and the internalization of knowledge, sensitizing
through observation and interaction.
Essays: Argumentative, reflexive/philosophical and expositive/descriptive essays will be used as
an academic writing tool that will allow students to express, interpret, and evaluate one or more
topics by formally including adequate justification. The point is to show evidence of readings and
to demonstrate the ability to compose explanations clearly.
Readings. Virtual forum and discussion of issues in class will be used as an academic tool that will
allow the students to show their understanding in topics assigned as readings in each unit.
Mental maps will be developed as a means to contribute to the analysis of nutritional health
lifestyle processes and eating behavioral patterns and their health impacts. They will also help
contribute to the understanding of the interdependencies between food, emotions, physical
activity and health. One subtype of this tool it`s the “rich picture”, a technique which will help us
to open thematic discussions in order to come to a broad, shared understanding of a situation.
Activities in the form of individual and group presentations will provide opportunities for the
students to communicate both orally, written and in graphic form (like rich pictures), and also for
sharing the results of their readings` and study cases` analysis assigned and research work, and to
demonstrate the appropriation of issues of interest.
Case studies analysis. The resolution of case studies educates students in three essential aspects:
knowledge management, reflective practices, and the ability to adapt to change.
In order to guarantee good development of the course, therefore to guarantee learning, the
following resources are available: an updated bibliographic database, multimedia equipment that
students can use for their individual presentations; whiteboards and other school equipment for
weekly sessions, and readings provided by the educator. All of these complement the suggested
projects and provide the students with higher possibilities of knowledge own ship. Lessons will
take place in the classroom and on the field. Students have access to the institution's library during
opening hours’ study areas or computer labs and any other convenient area on the university's
campus for individual study. Likewise, the university provides free Wi-Fi access to all students,
professors and staff throughout the campus.
The university also places the CANVAS Learning Management System at the disposition of
students and staff ensuring pedagogical flexibility making it easier to integrate new technologies
into the courses, and ensure seamless and effective communications between the student and
professor at all times through an app center.
In order to make the course or program better, competencies´ based evaluation, compiles and
evaluates evidence by taking into account feedback providing pre-established criteria. The
evaluation of the course must be consistent with the teaching competencies and methodology.
For each evaluation item there is a rubric, which, although it gives a score, it is a quantitative and
qualitative description of the student's performance.
General format for written assignments: Even though a specific rubric is provided for each
assignment, there is a general format for all written assignments: Header with name, class and
date; Letter size page; Arial 11 and double spacing, Margins 3x3 centimeters; APA format for
bibliography sources. The following items will be taken into account for all of the presentations:
preparation and content, organization and style, student´s critical opinion and punctuality.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations