Nutritional Epidemiology

We all eat, and most of us eat many different foods, yet we tend to forget rather quickly what we have eaten, and we often do not know the ingredients of the dishes we consume. These aspects make it hard to conduct nutritional epidemiological research, which is why it is important to learn how to overcome a number of specific challenges. This course will cover the most important ones, while helping you to design a well-constructed nutritional epidemiological study.

Dr. K. (Kerstin) Klipstein-Grobusch
Associate Professor, UMC Utrecht
Quick overview
  • 3 weeks - 14 hrs / wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online
  • English

Course description

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

• Design a well-constructed nutritional epidemiological study
• Explain the basic design considerations for nutritional epidemiological research
• Explain different methods of dietary assessment and their advantages/disadvantages for different study designs
• Explain the reproducibility and validity of different dietary assessment methods

In particular, you should be able to:

• Name sources of variation in the diet
• Use nutrition composition tables
• Use dietary biomarkers to assess dietary exposure
• Explain and utilize different methods to adjust for energy intake
• Use different methods to perform dietary pattern analyses
• Locate sources of measurement errors in dietary data, and apply different methods to correct these errors
• Adjust nutrient intake for total energy intake and perform dietary pattern analyses

Course topics

• Dietary assesment
• Nutritional epidemiology in global health
• Biomarkers of nutritional intake
• Adjustments for energy intake
• Adjusting for multicollinearity in nutritional variables
• Dietary patterns
• Validity & reproducibility of dietary assessment methods


To successfully complete this course, you need to actively participate in the discussion forums and complete the learning unit assignments, including:

• Demonstrating active participation in the forums and assignments overall (25% of the final mark)
• Creating a presentation (either on paper or as a Powerpoint, perhaps together with an optional video) with a group of peers (75% of the final mark). You are allowed to redo the final assignment once.


To enroll in this course, you need:

• A Bachelor’s degree in life sciences (or the equivalent)
• Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing
• Basic skills in working with the computer program SPSS or R
• Access to the computer program SPSS or the free program R
• Sufficient understanding of epidemiology, study design and data analysis. Elevate courses offering this knowledge include Introduction to Epidemiology, Study Design in Etiologic Research and Classical Methods in Data Analysis

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