Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will:

  • Be able to critique the dietary assessment, study design and data analysis of published nutritional epidemiological studies.
  • Be able to evaluate, summarize, interpret and discuss new nutritional epidemiological research findings whilst considering its strengths and weaknesses as well as prior evidence.
  • Be able to collaborate efficiently with epidemiologists, nutritionists and statisticians on planning, conducting and interpreting epidemiological research on a given diet-disease association in an existing epidemiological dataset. 
  • Recognise the potential value of new technologies and describe how they could advance the field of nutritional epidemiology. 
  • Be able to discuss how findings from nutritional epidemiology can be translated into recommendations for chronic disease prevention and be communicated to the public.


Topics will include the following:

  • The importance of nutrition in the prevention of morbidity and mortality from chronic disease (including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus II and the metabolic syndrome).
  • International trends and patterns in diet (including biomarkers of intake and status), body size (including the obesity epidemic), and physical activity.
  • Assessment methods for diet (questionnaires, 24-hour recalls, food diaries; biomarkers; dietary patterns; food composition databases), anthropometry and physical activity (questionnaires, objective methods).
  • Methodological considerations in study design in nutritional epidemiology.
  • The problem of measurement error in nutrition-related exposures and approaches of how to deal with this (validity, reproducibility, de-attenuation, calibration).
  • Statistical methods (adjustment for total energy, selection of confounders, effect modification and interaction, multivariable regression analyses, continuous versus categorical analyses, trend tests, data transformation).
  • The role of meta-analysis in nutritional epidemiology.
  • Interpretation of nutritional epidemiological findings.
  • How to write a press release. 
  • Modern tools in nutritional epidemiology (Mendelian randomization, gene-environment interactions and metabonomics).
  • Translation of nutritional epidemiology findings into dietary guidelines and health policies.

Teaching methods

The course will consist of a mixture of lectures, computer tutorials, discussion sessions with experts and small-group paper critique sessions. The practical sessions and computer tutorials will ensure that you will be equipped to apply the knowledge and skills taught in the course in practice. Active participation will be required; participants will work in small groups on a given diet-disease association (including data analysis), which they will present towards the end of the course. The final presentations will be used for review and integration. Teaching will start at 9.00 and finish at 17.30 with a one and a half hour lunch break and mid morning and mid afternoon refreshment breaks.


There will be no formal assessment.


Participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of attendance. Previous courses were awarded 50 CPD credits by the Royal College of Physicians, and were also endorsed by the British Dietetics Association (BDA). Accreditation and endorsement by these organisations will be sought for this year's course.