Human Nutrition Minor

An Interprofessional Minor Between Exercise and Sport Performance and Biology Departments

Fruit baskets that contribute to human nutrition

Because nutrition plays a critical role in the health and well-being of human beings, a fundamental understanding of nutrition is essential to students pursuing careers in the health sciences. This background is also useful to anyone interested in living a healthy life. 

As a student pursuing a minor in Human Nutrition at UNE, you engage in interdisciplinary study that provides you with expert knowledge about human nutrition and related physiologic principles.

You study topics and issues such as a balanced diet, weight management, exercise and sports performance, and the social and environmental impact of the foods we grow and eat. 

The minor also encourages you to take responsibility for your own nutrition, health and well-being by applying your new understanding to your own life, enhancing your sense of competence and personal control.

A minor in Human Nutrition prepares you for both graduate studies in the field and certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 

The Human Nutrition minor is offered through the Department of Exercise and Sport Performance in the UNE Westbrook College of Health Professions and the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. As an interdisciplinary minor, the courses are presented from multiple disciplines and colleges.

This minor will be offered beginning in the fall of 2015.

Course requirements

The following three courses are required for the nutrition minor (total of 9 credits): 

  • IHS 220 Nutrition (3 cr.)
  • BIO 318 Human Nutrition (3 cr.)
    • Prerequisite: IHS 220 Nutrition (minimum grade of C)
  • EXS 322 Bioenergetics and Metabolism (3 cr.)
    • Prerequisite: IHS 220 Nutrition (minimum grade of C) 

The remaining courses are electives that students can choose from to complete the 18 credits required for a minor:

  • SOC 275 Sociology of Food/Health (3 cr.) also listed as an SGA
  • CHE 310 Lab Foundations of Biochemistry (4 cr.)
    • Prerequisites: CHE 210 Organic Chemistry 1 (minimum grade of C-)
  • ENV 376 Caribbean Sustainable Development (3 cr.)
    • Co-Requisites: CIT 420 Global Citizenship Seminar: Dominica (1 cr.)
  • BIO 480 Topics in Physiology – Endocrinology and Carbohydrate Metabolism (3 c.r)
    • Prerequisites: BIO 208 – Intro Anatomy and Physiology 1 (minimum grade of C-) or BIO 245 Gen Prin Anat/Phys/Pathophys 1 (minimum grade of C-)
    • Restrictions: Must be enrolled as a first or second semester junior or senior

Course Descriptions

IHS220 Nutrition (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the science of nutrition. Attention is given to the nutrient groups (carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water) with respect to physical and chemical aspects of food digestion, absorption and metabolism. Students will explore the role of nutrition as it relates to health through the lifespan. Informed choices about foods that reduce the risk of developing or contributing to health problems as a result of poor nutrition are highlighted.

SOC275 Sociology of Food/Health (3 credits) also listed as an SGA

Food’s essential nature to human life makes it is a central part of social existence and human civilizational development. This course explores the social nature of food procurement, distribution, and consumption through a systematic sociological enquiry into the food we eat. By exposing the social relations associated and influenced by food we will draw out the implications on our social organization, health, culture, politics, and the economy. We will pay particular attention to the connection between the food we eat and health. This course is designed to integrate the multidisciplinary approaches to food and make the connections between what we produce and eat as a society and their social impacts, especially the impact on our health. We will begin by looking at the impact human food procurement on our societal development. This will expose the role of food and food scarcity in the rise of human hierarchies and the particular political and cultural developments that arose. Next we will turn to the development of a global industrial food production, distribution and consumption system. We will analyze the origins and social implications of this relatively recent change in food procurement and its social impacts. Then we will move on to the health implications of our food system. This will reveal the social influences to what we eat and how this impacts our health as individuals and as a society. Continuing on with health issues we will focus narrowly on the contradiction between our seemingly abundance of food and the rising rates of obesity in society which is occurring alongside mass hunger and food insecurity for a growing number of people. Next we will turn to the environmental effects of our current food system. Finally we will turn to some social movements aimed at addressing the social issues arising out of our current food system and some alternatives and actions we can implement to remedy the problems unearthed. 

ENV276 Caribbean/Sustainable Development (3 credits) also listed as an advanced studies

This course has a Caribbean-based field lab. Students experience first-hand the challenges of, and progression toward, sustainable development in the Caribbean region, with a focus on the "Nature Island" of Dominica. Students explore tropical island ecosystems, engage with our Dominican partners who are working to achieve sustainable development, and make their own contributions through hands-on participatory development projects. Briefer time spent in Antigua shows the consequences of conventional mass tourism. Inter-country comparisons provide insights into alternative approaches to tourism, ecosystem and sustainable development. 

CHE310 Foundations of Biochemistry with Lab (4 credits)

The structural, functional and informational aspects of biologically important molecules, such as amino acids, proteins, enzymes, lipids and carbohydrates are studied. The course is complemented with a three-hour laboratory each week. 

BIO 318 Human Nutrition (3 credits)

This lecture course will focus primarily on normal human nutrition during the human life cycle, from infancy through older adulthood. In addition, maternal nutrition, weight control, causes and treatment of obesity and other eating disorders will be explored. The course will review the energy-yielding macronutrients, examine vitamins and minerals, their deficiencies, toxicities and interactions and present an introduction into dietary and nutritional assessment of the individual, and alternative nutritional practices. The principle goal of this course is to learn and begin to develop healthy nutritional practices.

EXS322 Bioenergetics and Metabolism (3 credits)

This course will discuss the role of nutrition in optimizing physical performance in active individuals. Recent research publications will be used to provide the latest information regarding these areas and to encourage critical evaluation of research. Students will practice translation of scientific information for the public through assignments and discussion. Students will be required to provide nutritional assessments and recommendations specific to optimizing athletic performance for a variety of athletic populations. The major goal for this class is for students to understand the scientific underpinnings of these areas and also to be able to have the practical skills required to become a professional in the area of Nutrition and Sport Performance.

BIO480 Topics in Physiology — Endocrinology and Carbohydrate Metabolism (3 credits)

This seminar course explores advanced topics in human physiology. Initially, the course will examine the regulatory mechanisms of carbohydrate metabolism and its connection to obesity and type II diabetes mellitus. Students will then review the current literature and lead oral presentations (journal-club style) on pertinent topics of interest. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of obesity in association with metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus. Discussion will also focus on the molecular links between obesity and these co-morbidities. This 400 level course meets the Med-Bio program degree requirements, as well as the core curriculum critical thinking requisite.