HNH-39806 Hidden Hunger: Micronutrient Deficiencies in Low and Middle Income Countries

Code last year: (HNE-39806)


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work10
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. EF Talsma
dr. ir. A Melse-Boonstra
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. A Melse-Boonstra
dr. ir. EF Talsma
AG Zarate Ortiz
dr. ir. JCM Verhoef
dr. ir. TJ Stomph
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Melse-Boonstra

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

At the start of the course the student is assumed to have the knowledge and skills obtained through the courses HNH-10806 Nutrition and Health: Macronutrients, Energy and Health; HNH 28305: Metabolic Aspects of Nutrition and HNH-26806 Introduction to Health and Nutrition in Developing Countries, or equivalent.

Continuation courses:

Internship or Thesis Global Nutrition


The course Hidden Hunger will focus on the causes and consequences of micronutrient deficiencies in low and middle income countries as well as on the available control strategies. The main focus will be on deficiencies of iodine, iron, vitamin A, and zinc. Advantages and disadvantages of strategies to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition, such as dietary diversification, supplementation, fortification, and biofortification will be discussed.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- recognise and judge the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in low and middle income countries (LMIC) as public health problems;
- explain the relevant human metabolic processes of micronutrients (iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc) and how this is affected by common infectious diseases;
- measure and interpret basic clinical/biochemical parameters related to micronutrient deficiencies and understand how such measurements can be implemented in the field;
- simulate the possible effect of a food-based strategy on micronutrient intake taking into account dietary intake, retention factors and bioavailability;
- argue why a certain strategy to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition will be the most efficacious in a given situation based on the available evidence;
- develop a study design to assess efficacy of a strategy for improving micronutrient status of a target population.


- lectures;
- guest lectures;
- tutorials;
- group work;
- self-study;
- practicals.


- individual written open book exam (60%), threshold for passing the exam: 5.5;
- group case study report (40%);
- group presentation (± 0.5 credits for case study report);
- mandatory presence during laboratory practical and group presentations.


Handouts of lectures, research articles in Brightspace

Restricted Optional for: MNHNutrition and HealthMScF: Food Digestion and Health5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Nutritional Physiology and Health Status5AF
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology5AF