Course Title: Introduction to Food as Medicine

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to Food as Medicine

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Prof Stephen Bird

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7257

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 202.04.019

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is a University Student Elective or identified Program option and is thus available to students from various disciplines. There are no prerequisites, however students without adequate computer and English language literacy skills may find it difficult to meet the demands of the course.

While a background in nutrition or science may assist, it is assumed that many students will not have such a background. Therefore any required nutritional or scientific concepts will be introduced as part of the course content.

Course Description

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said ’Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’. We all eat, and food can be used not only to nourish but also to heal the body.

In this course, students with an interest in ‘food’ and ‘medicine’ will gain an overview of the use of ’food as medicine’ to promote health and wellbeing and treat and prevent disease. Topic areas will include: the historical and modern uses of ‘food as medicine’; the role of phytonutrients in explaining the medicinal properties of food; common uses of food (functional food) for the treatment, maintenance and prevention of health concerns; factors that impact on the quality of food such as farming and production techniques; food regulation issues such as labelling; traditional medicine approaches to food selection and issues pertaining to the social factors that affect food choices.

Introduction to Food as Medicine is not intended to provide you with the direct skills to practice any complementary therapies. It will however provide you with concepts and ideas that can be used for personal benefit, allowing you to make more informed food choices for enhanced wellbeing. The course may also be a useful supplement to the practice of current or future health practitioners.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course is offered as a University Student Elective or identified program option to undergraduate students from various disciplines.

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Make informed choices about healthy food options.
  2. Describe the origins, philosophies and basic principles of food as medicine.
  3. Locate and evaluate information on the therapeutic benefits of foods, nutrients and phytonutrients.
  4. Discuss the emerging field of functional foods and how food can be utilised to enhance wellbeing and complement conventional treatment approaches in common diseases.
  5. Review the basis for the regulation of foods and the factors involved in assessing food quality, safety and therapeutic claims.
  6. Explain the issues relating to the wider social context of food production and consumption.

Overview of Learning Activities

The course is offered entirely online via ’myRMIT Studies’ so no face-to-face contact is required. Even the final exam is conducted entirely online. As such it is ideal for students who live remotely or have limited time to spend on campus. Students are able to access the course materials at any time of the day from anywhere they can get an internet connection -,even from overseas.

At the commencement of the semester students should log into the online Learning Management System (LMS) (i.e. the course site) via ’myRMIT Studies’ and read all of the relevant announcements which will assist in working through the course materials. Each week students will be directed via the ’Learning Guide’ to a series of readings/ presentations and will then be asked to complete self-assessment quizzes or activities to consolidate their learning. These tasks will provide the foundational knowledge required to complete the online assessments.

A variety of online learning experiences, both individual and group, will be drawn on to help you reach the learning outcomes listed above. Group work will occur through online discussions facilitated by staff, and students will be encouraged to discuss their personal experiences with food.

Teacher Guided Hours: Thirty-six (36) hours per semester

(Approximately 3 hours per week for reading or viewing presentations online)

Learner Directed Hours: Eighty-four (84) hours per semester

(Approximately 7 hours per week for online self-assessment quizzes, activities and assessment preparation)

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will have access to extensive course materials via the online Learning Management System (LMS) (i.e. the course site) and ’myRMIT’ including: a detailed learning guide, self-assessment and practice exam questions, digitised readings, external internet links, and access to RMIT library and databases online ( Hardcopy resources are also available in the RMIT library.

There is no prescribed text for this course as all key readings have been digitised and will be available through the online Learning Management System (LMS).

The online Learning Management System (LMS), which is accessible via ’myRMIT Studies’, will be used as an ‘active space’ where you can give and receive feedback with staff and/or fellow students around various activities, discuss issues pertaining to food and share ideas.

Please note that access to the course is entirely online via the online Learning Management System (LMS) and no hard copies or CDs will be posted.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Early Assessment Task:  Self-assessment quizzes

Weighting 0% (Formative assessment with feedback)

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

The self-assessment quizzes will assist students in preparing for the final exam. Feedback is provided following submission of quizzes, and quizzes may be repeated.

Assessment Task 1:  On Line Discussion Topics 

Five (5) Discussion Topics (Online)

Total Weighting 30% (6% each)

Marking criteria are available in the ‘Learning Guide’. Feedback will be provided utilising a grading rubric.

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Discussion 1 Introductions (6%, Week 2) CLOs 1, 2 ,4, 5 & 6

Discussion 2 The effects of food on the body (6%, Week 4) CLOs 1, 3 & 4

Discussion 3 Flu Tea (6%, Week 7) CLOs 3 & 4

Discussion 4 Growing Foods (6%, Week 9) CLOs 3 & 6

Discussion 5 Food Psychology (6%, Week 12) CLOs 1 & 6

Students should complete at least four (4) of the five (5) discussion topics

Assessment Task 2: Two (2) Food Monograph Tests (Online - Week 6)

 Weighting 20% (10% each)

Activities completed in Weeks 4 and 5 will prepare students for the tests. A practice test will be available to familiarise students with the test environment.

This assessment task supports CLOs 3, 4 & 5

Assessment Task 3: Final Examination (Online - Exam period)

Weighting 50%

Self-assessment quizzes and activities will be completed throughout the semester to assist students in preparing for the exam. A practice exam will be available to familiarise students with the exam environment.

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6