Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights

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Course Date: 15 September 2014 to 10 November 2014 (8 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This seven week course will explore nutrition concepts that take center stage in mainstream media outlets and become conversation topics among consumers interested in food choice as it relates to optimal health and physical performance.

Estimated Workload: 2-4 hours/week

Course Instructors

Jamie Pope

Jamie Pope, MS, RD, LDN has been with Vanderbilt University since 1986 working in the areas of obesity research, weight management, health promotion, heart disease prevention, and since 2000 as Instructor of Nutrition in the School of Nursing. Jamie’s popular classes bring together undergraduate students from a wide range of majors to learn about nutrition science and the application to their personal and professional lives. Jamie holds a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition Science. She is a long-time member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and served as media representative for the Tennessee Dietetic Association, during which time she was named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for the Nashville District Dietetic Association. Jamie co-authored several best-selling books, such as The T-Factor Fat Gram Counter, and is author of The Last Five Pounds: A Liberating Guide to Living Thin. She has authored or contributed to numerous other scientific and popular press publications.  At present, Jamie is authoring an introductory nutrition textbook with W.H. Freeman Co, a as she continues to educate and inspire her students.

Course Description

Separate fact from fiction and fads as you learn about core nutrition concepts and how to evaluate not only personal food choices and overall dietary patterns, but nutrition related content in the media and in advertising. Such topics include fundamentals of a healthful eating pattern, nutrition labeling, dietary supplements, fortified and “super” foods, plant-based nutrition, and nutrition and fitness. The course will also include an overview of nutrition fundamentals as they relate to human health.

During this course you will have the opportunity to:

  • Analyze and evaluate your own food and beverage intake using a recommended online or cell phone app nutrient database.
  • Research of a dietary supplement of your choosing using credible informational websites as well as evidence-based medical literature.
  • Personally examine the concept of energy balance through determination of your calorie needs, intake and expenditure.


What did students say following the first offering of the course?

A big thank you to Professor Pope and her team for a first rate class. I loved this course! It was so enjoyable and interesting. I learned so much and appreciate the high quality of the course including Jamie Pope's lectures, the videography and graphics.  In addition, the depth of the resource materials has been excellent and appreciated. – S.L.P.

Thank you for a very interesting and informative class. I loved the entire course, the lectures, speakers and assignments. Monday's became my favorite day of the week so I could access the new lectures and assignment. Re-enrollment is a definite for me. Again, a big thank you for your time and improved many lives I am sure! –  S.A.Z.

Thanks to Jamie Pope and staff for the excellent information in this course. I'm really impressed with the extent and amount of resource links that you've assembled, that I can go back to and refer to again and again. This is my second Coursera class and both were absolutely engaging, keeping my attention and focus throughout. I appreciated the special guests and the additional information they provided, and also the upbeat attitude Jamie exhibited during the entire course. It's clear you have great passion for what you do. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!!  D.M.H.

I'd like to add my thanks to Jamie and the team. The course has been fantastic  —  lots of information, backed up with lots of links to reliable sources for us to do further reading and research if we wish to do so, yet presented in a very straightforward and understandable manner.   Anonymous


Week One: Just What is a Healthy Diet? A Balancing Act

Week Two: Nutrition Labeling: Facts, Claims, and Challenges

Week Three: Dietary Supplements: Evaluating the Evidence

Week Four: Functional and “Super” Foods: Their Role in Optimal Nutrition

Week Five: Plant-based Nutrition: Controversies and Considerations

Week Six: Nutrition and Fitness: Facts, Food, and Fuel

Week Seven:  Food Allergies and Intolerances:  Separating Fact from Fiction



The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 5 and 20 minutes in length.  Each video includes several questions that are not graded, but offered to foster personal insight and learning.   In addition to the videos, there are weekly assignments that allow students to further explore topics and concepts.  Each week also includes a weekly 10-15 question quiz that covers information from the video lectures that can be completed any time during the week it is offered or before the course concludes.   Students have up to 3 attempts to master the quiz and each question provides an explanation for the correct answer.  

You will find access to all course content on the home page.   You will find more detailed information there about the course under Syllabus/Course Description.  

You can choose your level of course involvement, whether it is just watching the videos or choosing to complete some or all of the assignments and weekly quizzes.   Once enrolled, you have full access to all course content and can join us whenever your schedule allows.   I do hope that you can take part on a weekly basis through the course offering.   You do have the option of earning signed statements of accomplishment at the end of the course dependent upon your level of course participation and submission of some or all of the weekly assignments and quizzes.  

Suggested Reading

Each week the video lectures and posted slides will include links to credible websites and resources referenced in the course and available to students for additional information and reading.  

Course Workload

2-4 hours/week

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