Course Descriptions

HSC 542: Society, Culture and Public Health Nutrition

Society and culture affects health and nutrition of a nation. Nutrition and nutrition policies are integral to public health and the development of a nation. Therefore, the graduate students of the School of Public Health of the IUB will learn to analyze society and culture and their relevance to health and nutrition. They will also be able to carry out nutritional assessment, describe the burden of nutrition specific diseases and health conditions, scrutinize nutrition programming and take part in nutrition policy making.

The course is divided into two parts. The first part gives an outline of social and cultural factors affecting health conditions in developing countries. The second part highlights issues of public health nutrition and policy making. Throughout the course, there is extensive discussion of social, cultural, political situations and policy implications of them with special reference to Bangladesh.
At the end of the first part of the course, the students will be able to describe and analyze the societal and cultural factors that affect health and health care.

At the end of the second part of the course, the students will be able to describe the distribution and determinants of major public health nutrition problems, consequences of these problems and services and policies to address them. They are also able to critically analyze the design and outcome of the nutrition programs and research and take part in decision making.
Not applicable
  1. It is the student’s responsibility to gather information about the assignments and covered topics during the lectures missed. Regular class attendance is mandatory. Points will be taken off for missing classes. Without 70% of attendance, sitting for final exam is NOT allowed. According to
  2. IUB system students must enter the classroom within the first 20 minutes to get the attendance submitted.
  3. The date and syllabus of quiz, midterm and final exam is already given here, however, announcements will be given ahead of time. There is NO provision for make-up quizzes.
  4. The reading materials for each class will be given prior to that class so that student may have a cursory look into the materials.
  5. Class participation is vital for better understanding of sociological issues. Students are invited to raise questions.
  6. Students should take tutorials with the instructor during the office hours. Prior appointment is required.
  7. Students must maintain the IUB code of conduct and ethical guidelines offered by the school of liberal arts and sciences.
The course will be based mostly on the following books [some other books and journals may be referred time to time]:
For the first part:
  1. C.G. Helman, Culture health and illness, 1990, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, Jordan hill, Oxford
  2. T.M.Johnson and C.F.Sargent (eds), MedicalAnrhopology-a Hanbook of theory and method,
  3. Applied Health research Manual, Anthropology of health and health care
For the second part:
  1. Felicity Savage King, Ann Burgess, Victoria J Quinn, Akoto K Osei (eds). Nutrition fordeveloping countries.
  2. Mark Lawrence and Tony Worsley: Public Health Nutrition: From principles to practice.
  3. Arlene Spark: Nutrition in Public Health: Principles, Policies, and Practice.
Students will be assessed on the basis of their overall performance in all the exams, quizzes, and class participation. Final numeric reward will be the compilation of:
Public Health Nutrition
  • One assignment (10%)
  • One mid-term test (30%)
  • One final presentation (5%)
  • A participation mark (5%) will reflect tutorial engagement; it may include occasional quizzes and other assignments.
Society, Culture
  • One assignment (10%)
  • One final exam (30%)
  • One presentation (5%)
  • A participation mark (5%) will reflect tutorial engagement; it may include occasional quizzes and other assignments.
[Class attendance is mandatory; failure to do so may deduct the final marks]
The following chart will be followed for grading. This has been customized from the guideline provided by the School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
90-100 85-89 80-84 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 0-44
* Numbers are inclusive
Students who are willing to audit the course are welcome during the first two classes and are advised to contact the instructor after that.
Plagiarism – that is, the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were the student’s own – must be strictly avoided. Cheating and plagiarism on exam and assignments are unacceptable.
Please see the Green Book for further information about academic regulation and policies, including withdrawal and grading, appeals and penalties for plagiarism and academic misconduct.
Students with disabilities are required to inform the Department of Law of any specific requirement for classes or examination as soon as possible.
Awarding of Incomplete or ‘I’ grades should be strongly discouraged. ‘I’ will only be allowed for students who have a valid reason (ascertained by the senior management). In situations where the student is unable to complete the course due to unanticipated illness or family emergency and has not attended at least 75% of the classes held, he / she will be asked to withdraw from that course and repeat it. In unavoidable circumstances where students have completed 75% of the classes but are unable to continue (due to illness or family emergency), incomplete grade of ‘I’ may be granted. Incomplete course has to be completed by the end of the next semester, otherwise grade ‘I’ automatically becomes grade ‘F’. The student is not required to register for the course in the next semester.
A ‘W’ grade means withdrawal. A student may decide to withdraw from a course by the deadline. Students must apply to the Program Office for withdrawal from a course with the permission of the concerned course instructor, Academic Advisor, and the Dean. Withdrawal from only one course in a semester is allowed but the students should provide valid reason along with documents while applying for the withdrawal.
A student can misses a maximum of 8 classes for a particular course. After that the course will be automatically withdrawn. A student automatically withdrawn from a course will NOT be allowed to UNDO it under any circumstances.
Change of grade is strongly discouraged. However, an instructor may request a change of grade when a computational or procedural error occurred in the original assignment of a grade. Instructor must submit the ‘Grade Change Form’ to the respective program office within one month of submitting the final grade rolls. A Grade change has to be requested within 1 month of the day of publishing the grades.