Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Brian Oldfield


The unit will build on knowledge of body systems acquired in year 2 and will commence with an exposition of the major nutrient groups, their digestion, absorption, intracellular processing, metabolism and storage. This will lead on to a consideration of the ways in which stored nutrients are retrieved and of nutrient and energy fluxes within the body. The sensing of food intake and nutrient stores will be described for each class of nutrients at the peripheral and central levels and the physiological regulation of appetite will be addressed. Common and important disorders including obesity, metabolic diseases and diabetes will be studied. Aspects which include measurement of body mass and body composition, determination of food preferences, mechanisms of dysregulation of body mass, and interactions of disordered metabolism with the endocrine, cardiovascular and reproductive systems will be studied. The role of public information and therapeutic interventions including a consideration of alternative therapies from the perspective of evidence-based practice will also be covered.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the chemical, energetic and physiological attributes of the major nutrient groups and use this knowledge to explain whole body energy balance and nutrient stores;

  1. Explain how peripheral and central mechanisms sense food intake and match this to body mass and energy stores;

  1. Evaluate theories for eating and body mass disorders (and their treatment);

  1. Critically evaluate the scientific literature and write scientific reports and essays;

  1. Demonstrate scientific laboratory skills, including dissection, data analysis and graphing.


In-semester quizzes: 20%
Laboratory Reports: 20%
Assignments: 20%
Final examination: 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

Two hours of lectures and four hours of laboratory classes per week


Any two of PHY2011, PHY2021 and PHY2032; or both BMS1052 and BMS2031; or both BND1101 and BND2103