Journal of Social Sciences

Nutrition in Tertiary Education: Biological and Social Approaches

G. A. Fragkiadakis, C. Papandreou and K. Gkouskou

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2012.120.125

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 2

Pages 120-125


Problem statement: Human Nutrition, a necessary component of health-education, studies the food-depended growth/maintenance of the human body. To approach what nutritionists will need to apply in the 21st century, we searched the literature for new syllabus-fields. Approach: We detected fields likely to play a significant and innovative role in university teaching of Human Nutrition; then tried a synthesis of biological and social approaches. Results: The courses connecting with the new era may be: (1) Molecular nutrition, focusing on nutrient related interactions at the gene, protein and metabolic levels. This includes nutritional biochemistry, concerned with the structure/function of nutrients; nutritional genomics, concerned with genome-nutrient interactions and including genetic variation on individual nutrient-requirements (nutrigenetics); nutritional metabolomics, concerned with interactions of metabolic pathways with nutrients; nutritional epigenomics, concerned with relationships between maternal nutrition and foetal development at the molecular level. (2) Nutritional systems biology, which integrates the molecular physiology of nutrition, from the intracellular to the inter-organ level, involving mathematical modelling. (3) Nutrition and behaviour, focusing on the relations among dietary patterns, hunger, satiety, mood and the central nervous system. (4) Community Nutrition, which is the promotion of health and prevention of nutritional diseases in the community level. Community Nutrition involves application of social science as well as psychological, cultural, economic and public health policy methods in groups/populations. (5) Social Nutrition, that focuses on the social, cultural, religious, economic and political aspects of eating and how these may influence people’s nutrition and assists in overcoming the limitations in understanding all determinants of food intake. Conclusion/Recommendations: Current research in biological sciences brings Nutrition-Dietetics closer to biomedical sciences/applications and integrates our knowledge that must be included in the syllabuses/curricula of tertiary education Nutrition. On the other hand, social science approaches add significantly in these schemes, since genes and lifestyles do interact in human biology.


© 2012 G. A. Fragkiadakis, C. Papandreou and K. Gkouskou. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.