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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: The Nexus of Food Security and Global Health (BIME11143)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryIn this course students will examine the nexus of Food Security and Global Health by focusing on three areas: malnutrition, food production systems and climate change. Thematic analysis will interlink throughout the course allowing the students sufficient focus within these broad areas. A One Health vertical thread will run through the course incorporating human health, livestock production, crop science, aquaculture, animal health and the challenges that climate change poses, thus aiming to be a course that in addition to exploring the current and historical context of food security in a health context, also seeks to inspire independent thought and pique interest in addressing the challenge of sustainability.

Course description Food security is defined as ¿existing when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.¿ (FAO, 2017).

Food security is a broad transdisciplinary area which, at it¿s conception, focused on food and food production. Today it encompasses every discipline, from politics and economics to chemistry, soil science and the agriculture sciences.
This course aims to take a focused approach, in-keeping with the current topics and overarching themes of the Global Health Academy, this course will explore the nexus of Food Security and Global Health which incorporates both human and animal health elements with a global One Health vertical thread running through and linking the topics over the 5 week period.

Gaining a sound base, so as to appreciate the context historically and going forth, the terminology and the disciplines that come under the Food Security umbrella and the global picture as to why the area is so critical will be introduced. The main body of the course will start with the human health consequences of food insecurity: undernutrition, the sequalae of which include chronic hunger and wasting (stunting). The triple burden of malnutrition will be defined, thus expanding the focus to include the consequences of excessive net energy feed intake and nutrient deficiencies. The effects of undernutrition and malnutrition are wide ranging and the coverage will reflect this, with chronic child malnutrition (stunting), obesity, anaemia, reduced immune response, cardiovascular disease covered.

Moving forward food systems, climate change and food production nexus will be explored. It¿s long been recognised that ¿In a highly centralised and industrialised food supply system there can be no small disaster, whether it be a production ¿error¿ or corn blight, the disaster us not foreseen until it exists, it is not recognised until it is widespread¿ (Berry, 1996). The increasing oligo- and in some cases monopolisation of food industries will be introduced and examples will be drawn both from history and from more recently, the 2007-2008 world food crisis will be a focus on which to draw together and contextualise the economics and policies relating to world trade in food products and food systems.

The final, yet arguably most important, area of focus will be food production, with a strong focus on livestock systems, crop and aquaculture sciences and food safety, in keeping with the One Health theme. The challenges of production, sustainability, food waste and intensification will be addressed under the thematic heading of climate change.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the origins of the term Food Security and appreciate the evolution of the concept and encompassment of a broad range of disciplines, including Global Health.
  2. Demonstrate extensive knowledge of undernutrition, malnutrition and a wide variety of examples of the non-communicable health and infectious disease sequalae.
  3. In a Global Health context, critically detail awareness of the effect of climate change on agricultural food systems, with a particular focus on livestock production, animal health, crop and aquaculture sciences and food safety.
  4. Describe and communicate effectively to a range of audiences the interconnectedness and complexities surrounding Food Security and Global Health and explore further nexus that may exist
  5. Apply knowledge and understanding of food insecurity, food systems, food production and climate change, suggest solutions to the current issues that challenge Global Health
Reading List
The FAO website hosts a page dedicated to Food Security, offering the latest reports, analysis and links to it¿s own reports and publications
The FAO ¿Voices for Hunger¿ is a FAO project detailing policy relavant information on food insecurity.

FAO IFAD UNICEF, W. & W. (2017). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.
Berry, E. M., Dernini, S., Burlingame, B., Meybeck, A., & Conforti, P. (2015). Food security and sustainability: Can one exist without the other? Public Health Nutrition, 18(13), 2293¿2302.
Gould, J. (2017). Nutrition: A world of insecurity. Nature, 544(7651).
Ingram, J. (2017). Perspective: Look beyond production. Nature, 544(7651), 517.
Porter, J.R., L. Xie, A.J. Challinor, K. Cochrane, S.M. Howden, M.M. Iqbal, D.B. Lobell, and M. I. T. (2014). Food security and food production systems. and
Smith, K.R., A.Woodward, D. Campbell-Lendrum, D.D. Chadee, Y. Honda, Q. Liu, J.M. Olwoch, B. Revich, and R. S. (2014). Human health: impacts, adaptation and co-benefits.
Both in M. C. Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir (Ed.), Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (p. 485¿533.).
United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. General Assembley 70 Session, 16301(October), 1¿35.
¿ There is a journal: ¿Food Security¿ (Springer), which publishes many papers related to the broad area of Food Security.
¿ The following text books offer good starting points to the topic:
McDonald, B. (2010). Food Security. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Further, relevant and up to date references and resources will be used in a subject specific mannner.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Access to computer/internet
KeywordsFood Security | Global Health | Animal Health | Malnutrition | Undernutrition | Climate Change | Fo
Course organiserDr Emily O'Reilly
Email: emily.o'
Course secretaryMrs Dan Yan
Tel: (131 6)515470
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