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KULeuvenX: Clinical Nutrition – evidence-based practice

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Aiming to tackle nutrition-related issues due to chronic or infectious diseases (e.g. obesity, HIV), this course equips you with evidence-based insights and practical know-how on solutions to implement in a varied number of situations.

6 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Feb 22
Ends Sep 15

About this course

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The preventive aspect and importance of nutrition are well-known for both deficiency and chronic diseases. The importance of nutrition on global health is demonstrated in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as set by the United Nations General Assembly, as nutrition is considered a cornerstone for 12 out of 17 of these goals. Nutrition has a positive effect on health as well as on economic growth.

Clinical nutrition described as the basic interdisciplinary and applied science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and management of nutritional and metabolic changes related to acute and chronic diseases for both patients in healthcare institutions or those who receive care periodically as outpatients, is an old concept but the importance is hardly recognized.

Aiming to emphasize the importance of clinical nutrition, this course equips you with evidence-based insights and practical know-how on nutrition-related solutions. By providing you with this information, the course broadens your conceptual knowledge towards the context & background-independent application of nutrition-related issues due to chronic and infectious disorders.

Our evidence-based practice approach will allow you as a decision-maker to identify the relevant evidence for practice while taking into account the sociocultural background and wishes of a patient. This evidence-based practice approach will eliminate the ‘trial & error’ approach in favor of better health outcomes and originates from North and South countries.

This course is taught by instructors with decades of experience in clinical nutrition, dietetics, endocrinology, and gastroenterology. The instructors are teachers/lecturers and researchers in these fields at universities in Europe (KU Leuven, Department of Chronic Diseases and Metabolism) and in Africa (Stellenbosh University, Division of Human Nutrition; University of Ghana, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics; University of Rwanda, School of Public Health, and University of Zimbabwe, Institute of Food and Nutrition) which is the uniqueness of this course.

By being able to apply the evidence-based practice of clinical nutrition in different situations you will be able to function as a linking pin between research and practice with experience from North & South countries. Such profiles align strongly with the future outlook of nutrition-related needs as reported by organizations like the World Food Programme, World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, and International Committee of the Red Cross.

This MOOC was created with the support of the KU Leuven Faculty of Medicine

Course created with support from

University of GhanaUniversity of RwandaUniversity of ZimbabweStellenbosch University

At a glance

  • Institution: KULeuvenX
  • Subject: Food & Nutrition
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    A basic scientific and/or practical understanding of nutrition, dietetics, medicine, biomedical sciences, or interest in the field of nutrition and dietetics is recommended.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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  • Acquire basic knowledge of clinical nutrition:
    • the treatment of obesity.
    • the treatment of diabetes
    • the treatment of malnutrition
    • the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases
    • the treatment of infectious diseases, more specifically HIV
  • Translate scientific evidence into practice.
  • Acquire practical experience from both North & South Countries
  • Use nutrition as a treatment strategy.
  • Apply nutrition strategies in treating specific disorders.
  • Decontextualize concepts over different contexts.

Week 0: Getting the feel for it
Welcome and how to use a MOOC, gain familiarity with course setup, its workload, our and yours expectations, the presentation of the course team, and some guidelines and honor codes.

Week 1: Introduction
Introduction to the scientific approach of clinical nutrition and its basic concepts, followed by an introduction to the quest for the development of practical guidelines.

Week 2: Obesity
The basic concepts of obesity, its consequences, management, and how obesity is treated from different geographical and socio-cultural backgrounds.

Week 3: Diabetes
The basic concepts of diabetes, its consequences, management, and how to treat diabetes from different geographical and socio-cultural backgrounds.

Week 4: Malnutrition and specific pathology
The basic concepts of malnutrition, and what clinical nutrition there exists to address malnutrition

Week 5: Gastrointestinal diseases
Food allergies, intolerances and the role of nutrition in functional gastrointestinal disorders and gluten-related pathologies.

Week 6: Infections and nutritional requirements
The role and impact of HIV on nutritional needs and how to treat infections from a nutritional point of view.

Week 7: Integrated evaluation
Case studies are proposed with a combination of different pathologies in different settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I have to be a clinician or an academic to take the course?
Although we recommend you have a basic scientific and/or practical understanding of nutrition, dietetics, medicine, or biomedical sciences, interest in the field of nutrition in North and South countries will already bring you a whole way.

Is this course targeted to a specific region in the world?
No, the aim of the course is not to teach South countries how to deal with nutrition-related issues due to chronic disorders like obesity or diabetes, but to present cases from both resource-rich and limited-resource contexts, independent from the North or South country status. By doing this we want to facilitate the use of context-independent frameworks to broaden treatment options. Here the confrontation with different contexts might lead to innovative thinking and practices.

What is the value of a certificate for this course?
As the consortium of partners contributing to this MOOC and international organizations (World Food Programme, World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, and International Committee of the Red Cross) recognize the importance of official certification in the context of tackling nutrition-related issues due to chronic disorders, having a formal certificate might increase your chances on the market with regard to the partners. Nonetheless, without the certificate and with the skills obtained through this MOOC you will be equipped for practice anyway.

Why should I take this course?
In our opinion, you should take this course because independent from the context you are in (resource-rich or limited in resources) the context-independent conceptual framework we provide in this course will help you to widen your approach to the use of clinical nutrition related to chronic disorders. At least the course will help you to think freely about different treatments, and this to provide you with new approaches to treatments in your individual context.

Is it important that I complete the entire course?
Yes and no. Yes if you don’t know that much about the topics addressed and you want a thorough understanding of the content or you want to apply the insights provided through the course. No, if you just want to have a swift look at the materials and check the content because of general interest, without further intentions. The content is developed in such a way both approaches are possible. Either way, we would appreciate you indicating your intentions in the introductory survey.

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