Food for Thought


Course Objective

After this course, students will be able to:
• Recall and describe the important characteristics of sensory,
socio-cultural environment, physical environment and sustainability and
their association with food choice
• Conduct a small-scale research project to investigate the association
between a certain factor and food choice and report the results
• Critically reflect upon factors that influence food choice and the
complexity of food choice and research towards food choice
• Justify the relevance of your research project in the format of a
written introduction of a scientific manuscript using scientific sources
of good quality

Course Content

The course focuses on determinants of food choice. This is a relevant
topic because food choice influences health and environment and vice
versa. Although healthy eating is in fact quite simple, food choice is
complex because dietary behaviours are influenced by many factors such
as psychosocial factors, biological factors and factors in the physical
environment. There is a need for a greater understanding of the
determinants that affect food choice so the right determinants can be
targeted when trying to improve food choice.
In this course we will discuss determinants associated with sensory
aspects of food (taste), the physical environment (portion sizes and
factors in home settings and school settings), social-cultural
environment (culture and family) and sustainability. In addition,
students will design and perform their own small-scale research project
on determinants of food consumption.

Teaching Methods

This course is rewarded with 6 ECTs and runs in period 2. Contact hours
are filled in as follows: lectures, a film (compulsory), work group
meetings/consultation seminars (compulsory), personal feedback by email
on research protocol, and a poster presentation (compulsory). In
addition, self-study and team work are important components of this
course. You have to study the literature extensively and conduct and
report a small-scale research project in small groups.

Food for thought is a half-time course, this means that ~20 hours a
week are necessary to pursuit the goals of this course.

Method of Assessment

This course will be graded as follows:
a. A written exam on all lectures AND literature (50% of final grade).
The written exam consists of 50% multiple choice questions and 50% open

b. The other 50% of the final grading for this course is based on the
assessment of the research project and consists of the following sub
- Grading research protocol = pass/fail
- Grading poster + pitch = 25%
- Grading short scientific introduction = 25%
- Grading individual contribution will be used to decide upon final
grading assignment

In order to pass this course: 1) you need to attend all compulsory
meetings, 2) you need to have sufficiently contributed to the research
project and 3) all your grades need to be sufficient (pass or at least a

Entry Requirements

Basic understanding of epidemiological research methods and statistics.
Sufficient command of English.


Literature will be provided on Canvas, and includes among others:
• Nicolaou M, Doak CM, van Dam RM, Brug J, Stronks K, Seidell JC.
Cultural and social influences on food consumption in Dutch residents of
Turkish and Moroccan origin: a qualitative study. Journal of Nutrition
Education and Behavior. 2009; 41(4):232-241.
• Steenhuis IHM, Vermeer WM. Portion size: Review and framework for
interventions. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and
Physical Activity. 2009; 6:58.
• Health Council of the Netherlands. Guidelines for a healthy diet: the
ecological perspective. The Hague: Health Council of the Netherlands,
2011; publication no. 2011/08E.
• Lawless HT, Heymann H. Sensory evaluation of food. Principles and
practices. Second edition. Springer New York, 2010. Chapter 1

Target Audience

Students who are registered for the minor Five Big Issues in Health.

Additional Information

Guest lectures will be invited to share their expertise with the
students.Students need a sufficient level of the English language
because the lectures will be taught in English.

dr. Jutka Halberstadt
dr. Judith Neter
drs. Ilse Veldman
and guest lecturers

This course is part of a minor and works with a maximum number of 60
Students who follow the entire minor will be selected first.

Recommended background knowledge

Students need a sufficient level of the English language because the
lectures will be taught in English.

General Information

Course Code AB_1036
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J. Halberstadt
Examiner dr. J. Halberstadt
Teaching Staff dr. J. Halberstadt
prof. dr. I.H.M. Steenhuis
prof. dr. ir. I.A. Brouwer
I. Veldman MSc
dr. A.M.M. Vaes

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group, Lecture, Computer lab