Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Good health and well-being

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the Student will be able to:

- know the techniques for detecting food consumption and energy expenditure as well as nutritional surveillance strategies on populations in particular physiological conditions, such as pregnancy, lactation, growth, senescence and sporting activity;

- plan and carry out effective nutritional and health education interventions in the same populations;

- know and apply the principles of community dietetics in the same populations;

- know and apply the principles of organisation of community catering

Course contents

Techniques for detecting food consumption in the population: food-frequency questionnaires, food intake, diary, 7-day recall, 1-day recall. Use of software for nutrient intake calculation.

Methods for detecting energy expenditure in the population: double-marked water, accelerometers, heart rate monitoring, pedometers.

Nutritional surveillance, definition and strategies

- Paediatric age: staturo-ponderal growth curves, consumption and eating habits. Nutritional surveillance in Italy: Okkio alla Salute and HBSC. Assessment of the risk of developing eating disorders. Food insecurity. Methods of nutritional surveillance in low-income countries.

- Pregnancy and Lactation: primary prevention of birth defects, prevention and monitoring of nutritional risk factors for obstetric complications, low birth weight, nutritional deficiencies in the pregnant woman, the mother and the baby; prevention of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, exposure to contaminants; principles of nutrition and epigenetics.

- Senile age: monitoring risk factors for the development of sarcopenia, malnutrition, dysphagia

- Athletes: monitoring of incongruous dietary practices and the risk of developing eating disorders

Nutrition and health education

- design and evaluation of the outcomes of a health education intervention

- group nutrition education techniques

- individual nutritional counselling techniques

- engagement of the resistant user

Primary prevention strategies

- prevention of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence: evidence-based programmes, family empowerment, European multi-stakeholder experiences, taste and variety education; the role of school canteens

- prevention of overweight and obesity in pregnant and nursing mothers, promotion of breastfeeding

- prevention of overweight, obesity, chronic degenerative diseases in the workplace;

- senile age: active ageing and prevention of sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity, malnutrition by default, cognitive impairment

Principles of community dietetics (general population)

- needs and nutritional tables in community/mass catering (school catering, canteens)

- design of food plans and menus in community/mass catering and for primary prevention purposes

- principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) in community/mass catering


Società Italiana di Nutrizione Umana (SINU). Livelli di Assunzione di Riferimento di Nutrienti ed energia per la popolazione italiana (LARN) revisione 2014. Libro/e-book.

Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l'analisi della Economia agraria (CREA). Dossier Scientifico delle Linee Guida per una sana alimentazione (Edizione 2018)

Further reading (optional):

Public Health Nutrition, 2nd Edition Edited by Judith L. Buttriss (Editor), Ailsa A. Welch (Editor), John M. Kearney (Editor), Susan A. Lanham-New (Editor-in-Chief), 2017 ISBN 978-1-118-66097-3, Wiley-Blackwell

Nutrition Research Methodologies by Julie A. Lovegrove (Editor), Leanne Hodson (Editor), Sangita Sharma (Editor) ISBN: 978-1-118-55467-8 January 2015 Wiley-Blackwell, Chapters 4,10,12,17

Teaching methods

Lectures, approximately 35% of which are delivered via the web (hybrid teaching), individual and group activities, guided learning visits and bibliographical research will support the student's learning process and the achievement of the teaching objectives.

For lectures and practical exercises on community dietetics and mass catering, Prof. Petroni will be assisted by Prof. Barbara Ballotta.

Although not compulsory, attendance is recommended given the applied nature of the course.

The course is part of the University's teaching innovation project.

Assessment methods

Three tests are envisaged to ascertain the knowledge and skills that characterise the activity forming part of the curriculum:

- elaboration of a nutritional scheme to cover the needs for a defined physiological condition (from 1 to 10 points)

- development of a mass/community catering or nutrition education or surveillance project (1 to 10 points)

- oral exam on the topics covered (1 to 10 points)

Teaching tools

Use of software for food intake evaluation and for formulating menus for community/mass catering.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Letizia Petroni

See the website of Barbara Ballotta