Course Title: Food as Medicine

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Food as Medicine

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


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 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018

Course Coordinator: Dr Liza Oates

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 (0) 412 310 390

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Off-campus

Course Coordinator Availability: Via email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This subject is offered as option or University Student elective to postgraduate students from various disciplines. There are no pre-requisites, however students without adequate computer and English language literacy skills may find it difficult to meet the demands of the course.

English literacy skills should be sufficient to be able to understand large amounts of written instructions and prepare an article suitable for publication in an English language journal.

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 elective 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. They will be able to discuss the many factors that impact on healthy food choices and how foods can be utilised to enhance wellbeing.

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. 

Food as Medicine will provide current health care practitioners with additional tools to enhance their practice. It will enable them to discuss food choices with their patients on an informed basis and be able to locate, evaluate and synthesise credible information about food and its role in health promotion, maintenance and care. For those not currently in clinical practice it will provide concepts and ideas that can be employed for personal use, allowing you to make more informed food choices for enhanced wellbeing.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course is offered as an elective to post-graduate students from various disciplines and contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for GD169, Graduate Diploma in Wellness:

  • PLO 1. Synthesise and integrate wellness principles and strategies into life, education and work place settings, thereby contributing to enhanced productivity, the prevention of chronic lifestyle disease, enjoyment of life, and personal fulfilment.
  • PLO 2. Will have the knowledge and skills essential to design, develop, implement and evaluate a range of specialised Wellness strategies.
  • PLO 3. Be able to communicate to peers and others in a manner that suits the context, audience and message, and demonstrate the ability to share complex knowledge and ideas.
  • PLO 4.  Be educated consumers of evidence-based practice in Wellness and related disciplines with the ability to integrate research findings into practice, and identify appropriate research methods for specific Wellness research questions.
  • PLO 5. Become holistic thinkers and lifelong learners who are able to integrate information across multiple disciplines and apply knowledge, skills, critical thinking and problem solving to real world situations.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  • CLO 1. Make evidence-based decisions about healthy food options
  • CLO 2. Critique the origins, philosophies, and concepts of ‘food as medicine’
  • CLO 3. Locate, evaluate and synthesise evidence-based information on the therapeutic benefits of foods, nutrients and phytonutrients
  • CLO 4. Utilise the evidence base to investigate the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of ‘functional foods’ in promoting wellness and treating and preventing chronic diseases and make specific recommendations for inclusion in the diet based on available research
  • CLO 5. Investigate factors affecting food quality and critically assess information on food regulation as it pertains to your region
  • CLO 6. Analyse 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 that they can get an internet connection, even from overseas.

Students will be able to access online course materials via ‘myRMIT’. 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 course materials and activities to consolidate their learning.These tasks will provide the foundational knowledge required to complete the online assessments. A ‘Planning and Time Management Chart’ is provided in the Learning Guide to assist you in navigating your way through the course materials.

A variety of online learning experiences, both individual and group, will be drawn on to help you reach the course learning outcomes. Individual work consists of reading, viewing presentations, and completing activities or online self assessment quizzes. The final examination will be based on these readings, activities and quizzes. Group work will occur through online discussions facilitated by staff. Online discussions will explore selected topic areas to bring ideas together in a meaningful way, 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

There are no hurdle requirements for this course.

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:   Discussion Topics (Online)

Total Weighting 35%

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

This series of assessment tasks supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Discussion 1 - General Discussion Board (15%) (ongoing) CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Discussion 2- Functional foods (5%) (Week 4) CLOs 2 & 4

Discussion 3 - Food Regulations (5%) (Week 10) CLO 5

Discussion 4 - Final Report (10%) (Week 12) CLOs 1 & 6

Assessment Task 2: Food Article (Week 5)

Weighting 25%

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

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

Students will select one food covered in the course and prepare an article about the food suitable for publication in an English-language journal or professional publication of their choice. The article should include a discussion of: nutrients, phytonutrients, therapeutic claims, factors affecting quality, therapeutic recommendations, safety issues etc. 

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

Weighting 40%

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 supports CLOs 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6