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Nutrition Assessment
FNH 370
Section: 001
Instructor: Debbie Zibrik, RD, MA
Office: FNH 323
Office Hours: Tues 12:3-1:30pm
Class Schedule: Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:30pm
Classroom: TBA
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Background

Nutritional Assessment is usually divided up into four methods defined by the acronym "ABCD", where A=Anthropometric, B=Biochemical, C=Clinical, and D=Dietary. The methods can be used alone or in combination, and can be applied at the individual or population level. Accurate nutritional assessment underpins almost all activities in nutritional sciences or dietetics. For example, nutritional assessment can be used to screen at-risk groups in a population or individuals receiving health care, to examine relationships between diet and disease in a research setting, to develop a nutrition care plan (NCP), or to monitor the outcome of a nutrition intervention. In the early years, nutritional assessment focused on correction of nutritional deficiencies, however, modern and current priorities have shifted emphasis to over-nutrition and the health consequences of obesity. This course looks to examine the strengths and limitations of the tools used to complete nutrition assessments. Effort will be made to give students the opportunity to have practical experience with some of the methods.

Textbook and Software

Required textbook: Nieman, David C. Nutritional Assessment (6e) McGraw Hill, New York. ISBN 9780078021336.

Access to dietary intake software may be useful. Some students will have software from previous courses. Links to free software can be found at:

Learning Outcomes

The overall objective is to have students obtain an in-depth understanding of nutrition assessment. Those in the Dietetics Program will apply the principles and use the tools in future coursework and in professional clinical practice. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify, compare, and contrast methods of nutritional assessment used with populations and individuals;
  2. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of methods of nutritional assessment used with populations and individuals;
  3. Recommend appropriate techniques for the evaluation of nutritional status of populations and individuals (with consideration given to lifecycle stage and health status), and support those recommendations with current best evidence;
  4. Interpret nutrition assessment and nutrition screening data and draw conclusions regarding nutritional status;
  5. Conduct anthropometric measures such as height, weight, and skinfolds with accuracy and precision in accordance with current standard methodology;
  6. Explain how nutritional assessments can be used to establish the relationship between diet and disease;
  7. Develop a screening tool that integrates at least two methods of nutritional assessment. Describe the steps needed to validate the screening tool;
  8. Read and critically interpret the scientific literature on topics regarding the principles, methods, and uses of nutritional assessment;
  9. Describe some of the research that employs methods of nutritional assessment currently undertaken by students and faculty in Food, Nutrition and Health at UBC.

Course Evaluation

Activity Learning Objectives Value of Grade
DC Online Nutrition Screening Course 4, 7 7%
DC Growth Chart Training Program 1, 2, 3, 5 3%
Participation Challenges 1-9 10%
Screening Tool 4, 7, 8 15%
Midterm Exam 1-4 25%
Final Exam 1-9 (with focus on 5-9) 40%
TOTAL: 100%

Online Dietitians of Canada (DC) Nutrition Screening: To fulfill requirements for FNH 370, complete the online Nutrition Screening Course as described on UBC Connect. Each student will obtain access to the online course after payment of $17.00 to the instructor. Once the fee is paid, students will receive an email with a login name and password and instructions. A certificate of Completion will be issued upon successful completion of the lessons. Before the end of term, submit the certificate through UBC Connect. Points will be pro-rated to the score achieved in the course. The information from this course is testable.

Online Dietitians of Canada (DC) WHO Growth Chart Training Program: To fulfill the FNH 370 course requirements, complete the five modules of the online training course regarding the use of the WHO Growth Charts. Before the end of term, submit copies of the five Certificates of Completion to UBC Connect. The information from this course is testable.

Participation Challenges: Activities will involve, for example: learning more about commonly consumed food portions, conducting and evaluating data collected using a 24 hour recall, using the Food Groups Calculation Method to estimate calorie and macronutrient intakes, examining the evidence used to develop a DRI, developing a plan to create a FFQ, and completing the anthropometry tutorial. The outputs are very short, typically <1 page, and although assessed as pass/fail, points will not be earned for "an unsatisfactory submission" or "no attempt".

Screening Tool: For this assignment, you are asked to create a screening tool that could be used to detect someone at risk for under-nutrition or a nutrition-related disease. Specific instructions, examples, and the marking rubric are provided on UBC elearning Connect. Check the schedule for the due date.

Midterm and Final Exams: Each exam will consist of a combination of multiple choice, short answer, fill in the blank type questions, and at least one longer-answer question covering course materials and readings. The final exam will have focused emphasis on material covered after the midterm. Check the UBC exam schedule for the date of the Final Exam.


According to the UBC Calendar, plagiarism is "a form of academic misconduct in which an individual submits or presents the work of another person as his or her own." (,54,111,959). Plagiarism is a serious academic offence that can result in penalties such as a failing grade, a letter of reprimand, or suspension from the University. The University provides some useful, online resources to help students avoid plagiarism, including:

Check out the above sites to find out about more ways to avoid plagiarism, including: the taking of research notes to indicate sources of ideas and facts, properly citing your sources of information, both for verbatim quotes and paraphrased ideas, and properly referencing within the the text and reference list of your paper.