HNH-28303 Introduction Descriptive Epidemiology and Public Health

This Study Handbook is published with reservation. It is not official yet.


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Knowledge clip0
Individual Paper0
Independent study0
Distance group work0
E-learning material0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MC Busstra
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. MC Busstra
dr. ir. A Haveman-Nies
prof. dr. JM Geleijnse
prof. dr. ir. P van 't Veer
prof. dr. ir. EJM Feskens
prof. dr. ir. E Kampman
Examiner(s)dr. ir. MC Busstra

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

HNH-28803 Introduction Analytical Epidemiology and Public Health (online)


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with HNH-24806 Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health.
The course teaches you the basic concepts, measures and study designs of descriptive epidemiology and public health. Descriptive studies investigate when, where and among whom health and disease in certain populations occur. Results of these studies can be used by policy makers in the field of public health. Different epidemiological and public health measures are introduced to describe health, disease and mortality. You will learn when to use these measures and how to calculate them. In addition, you are introduced to some major diseases, including infectious diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. 
As a (nutritional) epidemiologist you need to know where to find valid data on disease occurrence (prevalence and incidence) world-wide. This will give you insight into differences between countries or regions. However, even data from reliable sources need to be interpreted with caution. Therefore in this course we have series of online discussion exercises that focus on a few diseases which are important world-wide and useful to illustrate epidemiological principles: diabetes & cancer. The same we will do for mortality and life-expectancy.
This is an online course. The content of this course largely overlap with the course HNH-24806 Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe the field of epidemiology and public health and the work of scientists in this field;
- calculate basic measures used in epidemiology and public health, including: prevalence, incidence rate and proportion, DALY, Years of Life Lost, Healthy Life Expectancy;
- understand basic study designs used in descriptive epidemiology and public health and indicate the major (dis)advantages of the various study designs.
- perform standardization of public health data;
- describe the prevalence and incidence of major communicable and non-communicable diseases including: infectious diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental health disorders among elderly people and osteoporosis.


Knowledge clips, self-study, online group discussions, calculation exercises, and individual assignments.


- final exam: remote proctored written exam with closed and open questions (100%);
- active contribution to online group discussion (pass);
- individual assignment (pass)


Webb C. & Bain P. (2010 or 2017). Essential epidemiology: an introduction for students and health professionals. Cambridge University Press, 2nd or 3rd edition.
Haveman-Nies A, Jansen SC, van Oers JAM, van ’t Veer P (2010). Epidemiology in public health practice. Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands. (second revised version), only one or two chapters are used in this course (subsequent courses in the online master specialization 'epidemiology and public health' will use subsequent chapters).

Compulsory for: MNHDLMaster Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health (2020)MSc1DL