Teaching and Learning Activities

Teaching and Learning Activities

We have developed activities to assist in embedding nutrition competencies into the curricula, all of which were developed and assessed independently in the partner sites and have undergone quality evaluation. Further details are available by contacting the individual universities where exemplars were developed.

Deakin University: Nutrition and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease 

Year Level: First year

Topic area: Public Health

Learning Outcomes

  1. To assess nutrition practice and knowledge of nutritional recommendations for health in relation to cardiovascular disease
  2. To identify if there is a mismatch between self-reported nutritional practices and knowledge of nutritional recommendations for health
  3. To identify opportunities to enhance student learning of nutritional recommendations and facilitate the development of an understanding in medical students of the barriers to optimal nutritional practice in Australia

Nutrition Competencies:

K2.1; K2.2; K3.1; K3.2; K4.2 

Two, one hour interactive lectures that integrate self-reported nutrition practices or students with knowledge of dietary recommendations related to cardiovascular disease prevention.


This exemplar assesses medical students self-reported nutrition practices and knowledge of dietary recommendations related to cardiovascular prevention and treatment. It also identifies the extent of any difference between student's nutrition knowledge and reported dietary behaviours. An abstract illustrating this resource can be found ANZAHPE Abstract (DOCX, 20.8 KB) . Within each lecture students are given 3 multiple choice questions via an audience response system relating to knowledge of dietary recommendations and reported usual intake for fruits, vegetables and salt.

Acknowledging discrepancies between their own nutrition knowledge and food behaviour provides relevant learning opportunities for students to develop an appreciation of the challenges of food behaviour change, and develop skills in providing effective support to empower patients to make positive lifestyle changes.

Educators can email  Robyn Perlstein for further information.

University of Queensland: Nutrition in Practice: NEAT - Nutrition Exercise Assessment Tool

Year Level: First year

Topic area: Knowledge of Health and Illness

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the role nutrition and lifestyle plays in the development of chronic disease
  2. Appreciate the nutritive and pharmacological roles of nutritional substances
  3. Differentiate between marketing and evidence based information on the benefits of particular lifestyle and dietary practices on health outcomes
  4. Gain practical skills and resources to effectively and succinctly provide beneficial lifestyle and nutrition advice to patients

Nutrition Competencies:

K1.1, K2.1, K2.2, K3.1, K1.3, K2.1, K1.3, K4.1, S1.1, S1.2,S1.3 , S2.2, S3.1, S3.2, S3.3, S3.4, S3.5, S5.1, S5.2


This practical 90 minute module introduces NEAT – the Nutrition Exercise Assessment Tool and associated solution sheets, allowing students to initially complete this on their own dietary practices and includes associated case study based practical examples.

The teaching exemplar includes:

  1. Preliminary lecture recording – Clinical Nutrition Myth Busting (PDF, 2.1 MB) (60 min .ppt); includes a set of MCQ's to be answered at the completion of listening to the recorded lecture so as to be able to attend the small group practical sessions.
  2. Practical Nutrition Assessment    (PPTX, 6.0 MB) session (90min .ppt) – tailored to accommodate 60 students per session
  3. Introduction to practical session slides:
  4. NEAT assessment tool    (PDF, 316.7 KB) (adapted from US Reap and Wave (Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients) [27]
  5. NEAT interpretation guide
  6. NEAT practical activity slides
  7. Support Resources

Educators can email  Robyn Perlstein for further information.

University of Tasmania: Patient Partner 'Nutrition Week'

Year Level: Years 4 and 5

Topic area: Clinical skills; Knowledge of Health and Illness

Learning outcomes:

  1. Integrate nutrition in the medical history and physical examination
  2. Interpret and integrate findings from the assessment to define nutritional problems
  3. Apply clinical reasoning to prioritise nutritional management strategies
  4. Provide basic evidence based advice on nutrition to patients
  5. Appreciate the social and cultural importance of food (including the influence of the social determinants of health).

Nutrition Competencies:

S1, S3, S4, S5, K2, K4


The Patient Partner Program (P3) allows students to learn from and with community members. By partnering weekly with volunteer 'patient partners' students are exposed to a variety of medical conditions and illnesses in a structured and safe consultation style. Students lead the consultation while being mentored by a clinician in the room. Hence the clinical content for nutrition is based in a patient centred framework.

The session aims to expose students to nutrition in as many ways of possible. Student evaluation/assessment is primarily via two mechanisms (1) a weekly reflective log/workbook kept by students and (b) feedback from academic staff on their workbook.

Educators can email  Robyn Perlstein for further information.

Monash University, Melbourne: Problem Based Learning Scenario

Year Level: Years 1 and 2

Topic area: endocrinology; Knowledge of Health and Illness; Doctor and Patient

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe the pathophysiology and risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes and how it differs from Type 2.
  2. Explain how nutrition affects health and risk factors for disease)
  3. Describe the role of nutrition in treatment of disease
  4. Describe the dietary management strategies for relevant medical conditions and disease
  5. Appreciate the social and cultural importance of food
  6. Discuss the principles of management including investigations of a patient with Diabetes.
  7. Describe the role and responsibility of the doctor, as a GP and as a specialist, in the management of a patient with Type 1 Diabetes.
  8. Identify the health issues facing adolescents and the responses of adolescents to chronic illness

Nutritional Competencies: K2, K3, K4


One PBL has been developed to address knowledge and skill based nutrition competencies. This has been trialled with students and reviewed by PBL tutors. It provides a patient centred scenario which provides opportunities to consider nutrition and lifestyle issues in younger people.

Educators can email  Robyn Perlstein for further information.

Deakin University Medical School: Multidisciplinary Cross Theme Panel Discussion – Cancer Cachexia

Year Level: First year

Topic area: Knowledge of Health and Illness

Learning Outcomes:

  1. To describe nutritional recommendations in relation to cancer cachexia.
  2. To identify nutritional strategies to assist patients with cancer cachexia.

Nutrition Competencies:

K3.1; K3.2; K4.3.


This exemplar incorporates nutrition into a multidisciplinary cross theme panel discussion on cancer cachexia for year 1 medical students. The session aims to increase student awareness and understanding of nutrition in the treatment of cancer cachexia. The cross theme panel discussion is based around the question: what could be done to improve the quality of life for a patient with cancer cachexia and his family and why?

The format comprises of speakers simulating a “panel” style session. These speakers include a nutrition academic and / or a dietitian and a palliative care nurse and physiotherapist.

More detail can be found here. The nutrition related slides of the panel presentation can be obtained by contacting: Robyn Perlstein

Deakin University Medical School: A “food labelling” Team based learning (TBL) activity.

Level: First / second year students

Topic area: Public Health Medicine

Learning Outcomes:

  1. To develop an understanding of the current Australian food labelling system
  2. To gain an understanding on how to use the Health Star Rating System in making appropriate food selections within our current food supply
  3. 3.       To develop an understanding and hence identify the difficulties within this Star Rating System

Nutrition Competencies:

K4.2; K4.3; S3.3


This TBL activity focuses on Australian food labelling and aims to outline the nutrient recommendations for health as they apply to specific types of manufactured foods.

Please email Robyn Perlstein for further information.

Competency Assessment Tools which are relevant to Australian Universities and are in alignment with the Nutrition Competency Framework (NCF) have been developed and thoroughly evaluated.

Two types of assessment were developed that can be readily integrated into existing formal assessment processes:

MCQ - Multiple Choice Questions

A bank of 67 high quality, summative MCQs, in the appropriate format utilised by medical courses in Australia, to assess knowledge and skill based nutrition competencies have been developed. The majority of these are for the use in earlier years and predominantly relate to the knowledge based competencies. These questions were piloted on over 170 medical and dietetic students from three universities.  All have undergone quality evaluation.  Topic areas covered include: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, congestive cardiac failure, insulin resistance, allergy, pregnancy, breastfeeding, renal, gastroenterology, alcohol, macro and micronutrients, bone health, autoimmune disease, malnutrition, vegetarianism and public health. Two examples of MCQ's developed that illustrate the format, level and competencies covered are below with the correct answer highlighted:

Year level: 1 & 2

Nutrition Competency: S1; 1, 2 

The primary dietary concern for an 82 year old woman with congestive cardiac failure is intake of

A.         saturated fat.

B.         carbohydrate.

C           energy.

D.         Vitamin B12.

E.         Vitamin D.

Year level: 3 & 4

Nutrition Competency: S3; 3 

Isabel is the newborn child of Mary and Cameron. Cameron has an allergy to cow's milk and nuts. Mary is planning to breastfeed Isabel for the first year of life. Which of the following dietary recommendations should be made to Mary to manage the risk of Isabel having a food allergy?

A.          eat a normal diet.

B.         avoid nuts in her own diet

C.         avoid dairy in her own diet

D.         avoid nuts and dairy in her own diet

E.         avoid all common food allergens in her own diet

OSCE - Objective Structured Clinical Examination

One OSCE has been developed to address knowledge and skill based nutrition competencies. This has been reviewed by external experts using pre-determined criteria.  This OSCE can be utilised as small group teaching resource.

MONASH University OSCE:

Evaluation Method: Evaluated by 5 external experts (MON, DU), and two team member experts (KR, JS). 

Evaluation results:   Reviewers agreed that the OSCE was probably most appropriate for assessment of students who had completed one year of clinical placement.  

However, it could be also be readily modified to provide an OSCE focused upon eliciting a history for earlier years.  The OSCE provided an authentic realistic scenario that would be particularly useful for assessment of management skills. 

Positive feedback included the integration between clinical skills & health promotion, human development and the focus upon lifestyle aspects of history and management.  Areas for improvement included some refinement of the stem and instructions to students.  The marking rubric would need to be revised and customised for the specific assessment requirements and format of individual universities.

Educators can email Professor Caryl Nowson to request further details.

The Evaluation results for both the MCQ's and the OSCE can be viewed here.

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