HNH-32506 Development of Sustainable Food Based Dietary Guidelines


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work6
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. A Kuijsten
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. P van 't Veer
dr. JHM de Vries
dr. ir. ID Brouwer
dr. A Kanellopoulos
dr. ir. A Kuijsten
prof. dr. JM Geleijnse
S Biesbroek
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Kuijsten

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic and Advanced Statistics, Research methodology for nutrition research, basics in epidemiology


In this course you will learn to develop sustainable food based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) and judge the strength of scientific evidence underlying these guidelines.
The need to shift to more sustainable diets and food systems is increasingly evident but certainly not simple to achieve. According to the definition by FAO, the sustainability of diets goes beyond nutrition and environment as to include economic and socio-cultural dimensions. You will critically evaluate and integrate many sources of information, such as scientific evidence of the relationship between diet, nutrition, dietary patterns and health; data on food composition, food production and sustainability, food consumption, costs, accessibility and acceptability.
Furthermore, you will experiment with diet modelling. Models can be developed to formulate and optimize dietary patterns, while remaining to current dietary practices as closely as possible, and at the same time ensuring that they improve on achieving FBDGs, nutrient recommendations and sustainability indicators. For this you will use a multidimensional optimization approach (linear programming) that can be used to model complex multifactorial problems, including diet-related problems.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to participate in the process of development of sustainable food based dietary guidelines. In order to do this students are expected to be able to:
- understand healthy and sustainable diets from a food systems perspective, i.e. the interconnection of agricultural production, environmental protection, global burden of disease, and dietary patterns;
- evaluate and integrate the scientific body of evidence relevant to nutrition and health outcomes;
- describe and interpret indicators for sustainable diets, with a focus on environmental sustainability;
- understand and apply the subsequent/various steps in the development of sustainable FBDGs, including synergies and trade-offs, between e.g., health and environmental impacts;
- understand the rationale behind linear programming for developing sustainable FBDGs and apply a simple linear programming model using a structured case, and interpret the results;
- use food systems thinking to critically evaluate current research on healthy and sustainable diets and suggest useful directions for research.


The course consists of several learning activities illustrating the main aspects of the development of sustainable food based dietary guidelines: (i) lectures, (ii) independent study (iii) group work, (iv) computer practical, and (v) an individual assignment. These activities are used to give you the opportunity to develop sustainable food based dietary guidelines for a specific country together with your fellow students.


The examination consists of two parts: (i) a group assignment ‘background report’ and (ii) an individual assignment ‘position paper’. Both parts count for 50% of the final mark. You need to obtain a minimum mark of 5.5 for both the assignments to pass the course. The assignments are described elsewhere in more detail.


A selection of scientific papers and policy reports will be provided online.

Keuze voor: MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Spec. B - Nutritional Physiology and Health Status3WD
MNHNutrition and HealthMScE: Spec. E - Systems Approach for Sustainable and Healthy Diets3WD
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Spec. A - Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology3WD