The Nutrition and Health programme studies nutrition and health at the (sub)cellular, individual and population level.
Nutrition and Health focuses on the role of dietary and lifestyle factors in human health and disease. This role is studied from a biomedical perspective at the individual and population levels. In addition, the mechanisms underlying beneficial and adverse effects are studied at the sub-cellular (DNA), cellular and organ/ organism levels. Human nutrition is a multidisciplinary field of expertise. To solve problems in nutrition and health, you must consider chemical and biochemical characteristics, physiological and biomedical aspects, the social and behavioural context of nutrition, and the relationships between these factors. Solving problems in this domain requires multidisciplinary biomedical knowledge and skills as well as an interdisciplinary approach to communication with experts in human nutrition and other fields.
The specialisations within Nutrition and Health are:
Epidemiology and Public Health Epidemiologists try to determine causal relationships in large groups of people, such as the elderly or people with cardiovascular problems; between food, lifestyle and the development of diseases. Research results act as starting points for health advice and lead to a greater understanding of cause and effect. If you know that certain behaviour leads to a disease, that behaviour can be addressed, and the effectiveness of the efforts to do so can be measured. You will be helping to improve the overall health of people and may be able to prevent food-related diseases from developing.
Complete Online Master From September 2015, Wageningen University started the specialisation "Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health" as the first complete online Master of Science. For more information go to http://www.wageningenuniversity.eu/onlinemaster
Nutritional Physiology and Health Status In this specialisation, you will study various age groups and situations, such as growth, pregnancy, and food consumption behaviour. You will also review special situations including serious diseases (clinical food), during sports and activity. You may also research the food consumption behaviour and habits of individuals and how you may be able to influence that, for example, through portion sizes. In short, you will review different aspects and will learn what the effects are of food consumption patterns and the physiological processes on the body and what that means for the status of its health and illness.
Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology In this specialisation, you will learn to use techniques, at molecular and cellular levels, to discover the mechanism driving the relationship between food and health. In toxicology, you will learn to study the possible poisonous effects of substances present in food. For instance, new ingredients in food products and additives, but also natural substances present in our food. The relationship between food consumption, food and medicines can also be researched and through this research, you will find many new leads to improving our health.
Sensory Science This specialisation is positioned at the interface of the programmes Food Technology and Nutrition and Health. Sensory scientists deal with the way humans perceive the world and act upon sensory input. They address how sensory systems function, from stimulation and perception to cognition and behaviour. You will work with humans and products in different contexts and study the way in which product properties affect, for example, sensory perception. The study always keeps a link to the application of this knowledge in the fields of human health and the design, production and consumption of attractive healthy foods.
Your future career
Many of our graduates begin working as researchers or PhD students. Another group becomes advisors, trainers or take up other jobs in the private sector. The majority of graduates finds employment at universities (including university medical centres), research institutes (TNO Nutrition or RIVM), in the public sector (national, regional and local governments, Netherlands Nutrition Centre, District Health Authorities) or companies involved with nutrition, pharmacology and toxicology (Unilever, Nutricia, Friesland Campina, Danone Research, Novartis). As graduates progress in their careers, they usually advance to a (more) managerial level.
Alumna Pascalle Weijzen. Pascalle did a thesis in Epidemiology and Sensory Science. After her graduation, she did a PhD project on the dynamics of food choice and sensory specific satiety. She joined FrieslandCampina afterwards, as a Researcher Sensory & Consumer Science, where she has been responsible for innovation projects aiming at strategies to stimulate healthy food choices. “I really feel I can contribute to profit for the company and to public health at the same time. In this job I still benefit from the broad nutrition and sensory expertise, the strong academic level of thinking, and the worldwide expert network which I built up during my MSc and PhD degrees.”
Related programmes: MSc Food Safety Health and Society (specialisation)