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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Obesity is a major worldwide health problem and in simple terms is caused by an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. However, this simple equation ignores the complex range of factors that control how individuals respond to today’s energy rich environment. These include differences in the way we sense hunger, our capacity to store or burn energy, our response to nutrients and how circulating factors affect the function of our metabolically important tissues. This course examines how body weight is controlled, why obesity can cause ill-health and what we can do to prevent or treat obesity and associated diseases.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Justin Rochford

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course examines how obesity develops, the genetic and environmental factors involved, the basis of obesity related metabolic diseases and current and potential therapies. The contributions of feeding behaviour, adipose tissue function, nutrition and energy expenditure to increased weight gain and metabolic health will be discussed. The course will cover a range of topics including cellular and molecular detail of critical pathways controlling body weight, how multiple tissues interact to influence metabolic health and how overnutrition can lead to conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The effectiveness and limitations of current treatments for these conditions will be discussed along with the potential avenues for new therapies. Students should come to appreciate that body weight and metabolic health is dictated by multiple integrated pathways, several of which may be amenable to therapeutic intervention.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • Essay-based formal examination
  • Continuous assessment essay on a course topic
  • Practical examination
  • Viva related to a specific course topic


  • 2-hour essay examination (70%) and in-course assessment (essay, practical exam and viva: 30%)

Formative Assessment

  • Problem-solving exercises


  • ​Feedback on CA essay (summative) will be provided by annotation of the essay and personal feedback as appropriate.
  • Feedback on viva (summative) will be provided with written comments and verbally.
  • Feedback on practical work and examination (formative and summative) will be by written comments and verbally.
  • Feedback during the course on problem solving, general involvement, understanding and discussion (formative) will be given verbally.

Course Learning Outcomes


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