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Nutrition Ethics and Policy

East Baltimore
4th term
Berman Institute (Bioethics)
3 credits
Academic Year:
2016 - 2017
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tuesday,  3:30 - 6:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Jess Fanzo

Our global community is witnessing unprecedented burdens of malnutrition that are shaped by many factors across different sectors and systems of health, education, and food to name a few. To begin tackling this burden, it is necessary to consider the ethical questions and landscape that swirl around the nutritional sciences as well as putting science into action in programs and policies within these systems. We will explore the ethical and moral issues that arise within the field of nutrition – in its science, policy and practice – and analyze the obligations and responsibilities to public and private actors involved in nutrition.

Introduces and explores the ethical issues of the nutritional sciences field in science, policy and practice. Provides students with the opportunity to think critically about a variety of conflicting evidence and scientific views of what is considered a “good” diet, where are the social inequities in accessing a nutritious diet, and what are the implications of policies in achieving nutrition security. Borrows tools from practical ethics, political philosophy, and theories of justice to highlight key ethical issues and challenges that impede or incentivize progress in the field of nutrition.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the major ethical debates and challenges of the nutrition field including issues in science, programs and policies
  2. Critique significant societal values and ethical assumptions that shape the evidence and science of nutrition
  3. Analyze the obligations and responsibilities of different actors in high-, middle-, and low-income countries involved in shaping the nutrition agenda
  4. Explain how programs and policies (in high-, middle- and low-income countries) can apply an ethical lens to decision-making and partnerships pertaining to nutrition outcomes across various sectors and systems (food, health, social protection, water etc)
  5. Identify potential short- and long-term ethically permissible, socially acceptable, and politically feasible solutions and strategies for improving nutrition
Methods of Assessment:

Participation: 15%, Presentation: 35%, Final Project/Paper: 50%

Enrollment Restriction:

Enrollment priority given to MBE students

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for undergraduate students

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

Course meets in Deering Hall; LLC Room