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Course information and syllabus


Course title

Basics of Physiological and Clinical Nutrition


Contact information

Instructor: Assoc. prof. Katarína Babinská, MD, PhD., MSc.


MS Teams: babinska1uniba.sk

Office: Institute of Physiology, Sasinkova 2, Bratislava, room 8, ground floor

Course is provided by the Institute of Physiology

Head of the Institute: Prof. Daniela Ostatníková, MD, PhD


Course information

This is a restricted optional course for General medicine 4th year students and Dentistry 3rd year students. The course is for international students of the Faculty of Medicine studying in English, as well as for Erasmus students. Expected number of students in the course: 8 – 20. Course takes place in winter semester and it lasts 12 weeks. Classes will take place online according to the semester schedule once a week in duration of 2 lessons (2 x 50 minutes).

You may sign for the course via AIS2 system. Concerning the administrative issues and enrolment into the course, please contact the Study department.


Online course access

The course will be conducted online via MS Teams. Course participants will have access to the team “Nutrition Optional LF” that will be the platform for all course activities (classes, study materials, assignment submissions, communication of students and instructor, etc.).


Brief description of the course

The course is focused on nutrition as a major determinant of human health, and a significant factor in prevention and treatment of a variety of health disorders worldwide. The course builds on the students’ previous knowledge of basics of nutrition gained in compulsory subjects, such as physiology, pathophysiology or biochemistry. In the course, the most frequent health-related nutritional problems of current time that a health professional may face in clinical practice will be discussed. The course will develop students’ practical skills in providing nutritional counselling concerning nutrient intakes, food choices and dietary plans. Risks and benefits of alternative nutritional approaches will be analysed. The course will train students in selection of information resources. International context, geographical or regional specifics of the course topics will be included in the discussions.


Expected learning outcomes

After completing the entire course you should be able:

1.      To apply the knowledge of nutrients and their functions, as well as nutrient content of foods in evaluation of overall dietary patterns.

2.      To analyse evaluate individuals’ dietary patterns in health and disease.

3.      To design dietary recommendations for an individual in health and disease with consideration of experts’ guidelines, scientific evidence and geographic/national specifics.


Major learning activities

Participants are expected to join a MS Teams meeting every week in the time scheduled in your MS Teams calendar. The lessons will be rich in discussions, in which your contribution is expected.

For most lessons reading will be assigned via MS Teams Assignments, as well as written assignment in form of 2-5 questions to be answered based on the reading. The deadline for submitting the assignment is 12 am on the day of the class. It is important to complete reading assignments prior to each lecture. Without the background information provided therein, students are unlikely to realize the full potential benefit of lectures, and may find them difficult to follow.

The lessons are introduced by a short lecture of the instructor. In each lesson, students will present their topics. Each student is expected present 2 presentations during the course. One is a short presentation (max 5-7 minutes) on the topic “Foods” assigned by the instructor. The second presentation (10-15minutes) is on a topic selected by the student form the list of topics available at the beginning of semester. Both presentations will be marked and the mark will be a part of the final grade.

In most classes, group work will be performed. Students will discuss topics in international groups (group members coming from different countries, and local students if applicable) of 3-5 individuals in breakout rooms, subsequently a general discussion will follow. Other activities will include short multiple choice online quizzes followed by discussions to questions. Role play format will be used for training of skills to provide guidance to patients.


Assessment criteria

The final mark will be based on

1. Participation in class discussions and tasks: 20 %

Students are expected to present understanding of the topic and sharing their national/international experience

2. Presentation of a topic 1: 10%

      Short 5 – 10 minute presentation on the topic assigned by the instructor (Chapter Foods)

3. Presentation of a topic 2: 20%

      Students may choose a topic from the list of topics.

4. Final written assignment: 50%

Students are expected to design a leaflet with dietary information for a patient, taking into consideration specifics of the country of their residence (their future patients). The choice of the topic/disease is upon the student, it needs to be discussed with the instructor. Students are expected to provide self-reflection on instructor’s feedback.


Grading policy and scale




100 - 92


  91 - 84


  83 - 76


  75 - 68


  67 - 60


Less than 60

The percent will be rounded up, e.g. 74.49% will be rounded to 75%.


Policy on absences

One absence is tolerated without a need for substitution. Submitting of the written assignment for that class is required (if applicable). Please announce your absence in advance if possible. One more absence is tolerated, substitution of the topic in form a written assignments is required.


Statement academic integrity

Any academic dishonesty is a basic offense against the university. Academic dishonesty includes submitting written material as one’s work when it has been prepared by or copied from another.


Online etiquette

Please have your camera turned on during the online class. If you do not speak, please mute your microphone. If you wish to join a discussion, make a comment, etc. click the “raise hand” button.

Your instructor and fellow students wish to foster a safe on-line learning environment. All opinions and experiences, no matter how different or controversial they may be perceived, must be respected in the tolerant spirit of academic discourse. You are encouraged to comment, question, or critique an idea but you are not to attack an individual.


Course schedule (may be subjected to modification)





Nutrition information sources. Local and international journals, books and websites.

How to spread/provide nutrition information and councelling.



Nutrients – What are the hot topics?

Main food sources of nutrients and their local/regional specifics.

Energy requirements and energy value of the food.



Dietary fibre, gut microbiota. Phytochemicals and other biologically active food components.

Food groups 1 (Students’ presentations).



Food groups 2 (Students’ presentations)



Current situation in nutrition and nutritional problems.

Regional differences – “What are the common nutritional problems in your country?”



Alternative nutrition. Vegetarian and vegan diet

Fad diets. Paleo diet - Raw food - Ketogenic diet



Nutrition requirements in age groups – children and adolescents, pregnancy and lactation, seniors.

Screening of the nutritional status. Assessment of dietary habits. Regional specifics and considerations.



Nutrition and disorders of the digestive system. Food allergies and intolerances. Histamine intolerance. Celiac disease.



Nutrition in prevention and treatment of obesity

Nutrition and diabetes mellitus



Nutrition in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases



Nutrition and osteoporosis

Nutrition and cancer



Current concepts of healthy nutrition




Reading list

For each lesson, reading will be announced one week in advance. Reading will include scientific articles or handouts. Please visit MS Teams - Files – Weekly reading to download the readings and materials to study.


Basic reading on nutrition:

Human Nutrition: 2020 Edition. Authors: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program. Accessible on