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Goals and competences

Goals

The aim of the course is to provide scientific training that encompasses all aspects of the nutritional and food sciences and, at the same time, to develop the skills and attitudes required for working in the broad field of applied nutrition. It likewise aims to give future applied nutrition professionals (dieticians) a broad understanding of the basic sciences, nutrition, dietetics, public health, nutritional education, organisation, management, languages and other complementary subjects.

Professional values, attitudes and behaviour

  • Recognising the essential elements of the profession of dietician-nutritionist, including ethical principles, legal responsibilities and professional practices by applying the principles of social justice to professional practice with respect for people and their customs, beliefs and culture.
  • Practicing the profession with respect for other health professionals by acquiring relevant teamwork skills.
  • Recognising one's limitations and the need to maintain and update professional skills, with particular emphasis on the continuous autonomous acquisition of knowledge about new products in the field of food and nutrition, and having the motivation to maintain professional excellence.

Communication and information management skills

  • Communicating effectively, both verbally and in writing, with individuals, health professionals or industry and the media, and knowing how to use information technologies, particularly those related to nutrition and lifestyle choices.
  • Understanding, critically assessing and knowing how to use and apply information sources related to nutrition, food, lifestyle and health.

Food science skills

  • Identifying and classifying food and foodstuffs. Knowing their composition, properties, nutritive value, bioavailability, organoleptic, sensory and gastronomic characteristics, and the changes they undergo as a consequence of technological and culinary processes.
  • Understanding the basic processes involved in the preparation, transformation and conservation of foods of both animal and vegetable origin.
  • Interpreting and using food composition tables and databases properly.
  • Understanding the microbiology, parasitology and toxicology of food.

Nutritional and health science skills

  • Being familiar with nutrients, their function in an organism, bioavailability, requirements and recommended quantities, as well as the bases of energetic and nutritional balance.
  • Examining and evaluating the relationship between food and nutrition in health and/or illness.
  • Applying scientific knowledge of physiology, pathophysiology, nutrition and food to individual or group diet planning and counselling, both in healthy (dietetics) and ill (diet therapy) clients, at every stage of life.
  • Designing and carrying out health status assessment protocols, and identifying nutritional risk factors.
  • Interpreting a nutritional diagnosis, evaluating nutritional aspects of a clinical record and implementing a dietary treatment plan.
  • Understanding the structure of food services, nutrition departments and hospital nutritionists, and identifying and developing the functions of a nutritionist-dietician in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Participating in the organisation, management and implementation of various food provision regimes, hospital nutritional support services and ambulatory dietetic-nutritional treatments.

Public health and community nutrition skills

  • Being familiar with national and international health organisations, as well as different health systems, and the role of the dietician-nutritionist in these systems.
  • Understanding and participating in the design, implementation and validation of nutritional epidemiology studies, as well as participating in the planning, analysis and assessment of food and nutrition intervention programmes in different fields.
  • Being able to participate in health promotion activities and in the prevention of disorders and diseases associated with nutrition and lifestyles by carrying out food and nutrition educational activities.
  • Collaborating in the planning and development of food, nutrition and food safety policies based on the needs of the population, while safeguarding health.

Legal and scientific management and consultancy

  • Assessing the development, commercialisation, labelling, advertising and marketing of food products in accordance with social needs, scientific knowledge and applicable laws.
  • Interpreting administrative reports and records relating to food products and ingredients.

Quality management and institutional food service

  • Participating in the management, organisation and development of an institutional food service.
  • Preparing, negotiating and monitoring the planning of menus and diets adapted to the characteristics of their recipients.
  • Making contributions to the quality and safety of products, installations and processes.
  • Providing proper hygienic/sanitary and dietetic/nutritional training to personnel involved in catering.

Critical analysis and research

  • Acquiring the basic training needed for research, being able to formulate hypotheses and knowing how to collect and interpret information needed to resolve problems using scientific methods.
  • Understanding the importance and limitations of scientific thinking in the fields of health and nutrition.

Competences

The methodology of the curriculum has been designed in such a way that in addition to acquiring knowledge and understanding how to apply it, students will gain professional skills and abilities. Based on this idea, in keeping with Ministerial Order CIN/730/2009 (March 18), which establishes the requirements for the verification of accredited university degrees for the practice of the profession of dietician-nutritionist, the programme ensures that students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to attain the goals listed:

Module I. Basic Training (60 ECTS credits)

  • Understanding the chemical, biochemical, and biological bases of human nutrition and dietetics.
  • Understanding the structure and function of the human body from the molecular to the organism level, at different stages of life.
  • Understanding the fundamentals of food and human nutrition.
  • Understanding statistics applied to the health sciences.
  • Understanding the psychological bases and the bio-psycho-social factors that influence human behaviour.
  • Understanding the historical, anthropological and sociological evolution of food, nutrition and dietetics in the context of health and disease.
  • Understanding the different educational methods applied in the health sciences, as well as the communication techniques applicable to food and human nutrition.

Module II. Food Science (25 ECTS credits)

  • Identifying and classifying foods, foodstuffs and food ingredients.
  • Understanding the chemical composition, physical and chemical properties, nutritive value, bioavailability and organoleptic characteristics of the above, as well as the modifications they undergo as a part of technological and culinary processes.
  • Understanding the basic processes of production, processing and conservation of the most commonly consumed foods.
  • Understanding and applying basic sensorial analyses of foodstuffs.
  • Interpreting and using both food composition tables and databases properly.
  • Understanding the microbiology, parasitology and toxicology of foods.
  • Understanding the culinary techniques for optimising the organoleptic and nutritional properties of foods, as compared to traditional gastronomy.

Module III. Hygiene, Food Safety and Quality Management (18 ECTS credits)

  • Develop, implement, evaluate and maintain food safety, proper hygienic practices and risk control systems, under applicable laws.
  • Participate in the design, organization and management of food services.
  • Coordinate, conduct and participate in the ongoing training of food and nutrition workers, regarding quality and food safety.
  • Collaborate in the implementation of quality systems.
  • Evaluate, monitor and manage aspects of food chain traceability.
  • Understand the economics and management of food companies.
  • Provide scientific and technical assessment regarding foodstuffs during both the development and production stages.
  • Evaluate compliance with assessments.
  • Participate in business teams developing social marketing and advertising strategies, and health claims.
  • Collaborate on consumer protection in the context of food safety.

Module IV. Nutritional, Dietetic and Health Sciences (53 ECTS credits)

  • Know the nutrients, their functions and their metabolic utilization.
  • Understand the basis of energetic and nutritional equilibrium, and its regulation.
  • Evaluate and calculate nutritional requirements for any stage of life, in a healthy or ill state.
  • Apply knowledge of Food Science and Nutrition to dietetics and diet therapy.
  • Understand gastronomy and culinary techniques which optimize the organoleptic and nutritional properties of foods in dietetics and diet therapy.
  • Identify the foundations of a healthy diet.
  • Participate in the design of a total diet study.
  • Be familiar with, detect and evaluate quantitative and qualitative variations from an energetically and nutritionally balanced diet.
  • Plan, carry out and interpret a nutritional assessment of subjects and/or groups, both healthy (in all physiological situations) and ill.
  • Understand the pathophysiological aspects of nutrition-related diseases.
  • Identify dietetic-nutritional problems in patients, a well as risk factors.
  • Prepare and interpret a diet journal in both healthy and ill subjects.
  • Interpret a medical record.
  • Understand and use the terminology employed in the Health Sciences.
  • Interpret and integrate clinical, biochemical and pharmacological data in a nutritional assessment of a patient and their dietetic-nutritional treatment.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate therapeutic diets for patients and/or groups.
  • Understand the organization and the various phases of hospital nutritional and food services.
  • Participate in a multi-disciplinary team of a hospital Department of Nutrition.
  • Understand basic and advanced nutritional support products and techniques.
  • Develop and implement nutritional-dietetic transition plans.
  • Plan and carry out dietetic-nutritional education programs in healthy or ill subjects.
  • Understand clinical pharmacology and the interactions between medications and nutrients.
  • Properly apply basic communication and information technology tools to the fields of food, nutrition and dietetics.
  • Understand the legal and ethical limitations of dietetic practice.

Module V. Public Health and Community Nutrition. (18 ECTS credits)

  • Be familiar with national and international organizations, health systems and health policies.
  • Participate in the analysis, planning and evaluation of epidemiological studies and food and nutrition intervention programs in different areas.
  • Design and implement nutritional assessments to identify the food and nutritional needs of a population, as well as identify the determinants of nutritional health.
  • Design and carry out dietetic and nutritional education and training programs.
  • Collaborate in the planning of food and nutrition educational policies.

Module VI. Internship and Final Project (30 ECTS credits)

  • Acquisition and development of interdisciplinary skills through human health and nutrition related practicums in clinical, administrative or public health settings. Also health and disease related dietetics in hospitals, primary care and other clinics, community organizations, food industry installations and catering services.
  • Presentation and defense of a final project before a university committee. The final project is an exercise integrating course material and practical skills acquired.