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Easing the burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

The University of Sydney via Coursera


This course is multidisciplinary in nature, and aims to equip the global audience of interested lay people, people with chronic disease, public health researchers, health clinicians, students, administrators, and researchers to reflect on the overall impact of the burden of chronic disease . It shows how all chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer) are related by a set of common causes, and that such diseases should be tackled, not individually, but as part of a complex system, with interrelated contributing factors. These factors are genetic, environmental, psychological, economic, social, developmental, and media related.

The Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney is a unique interdisciplinary education and research hub which seeks solutions to chronic disease through a complex systems approach. Academics in many disciplines (in Science and Medicine, but also in Architecture, Humanities, Law etc) work in a collaborative fashion to produce novel solutions to the problems of chronic disease. All contributors and participants in this course are members of the Charles Perkins Centre and will speak from the unique interdisciplinary perspective that this Centre affords.

The course will describe a complex systems approach as the most productive way to ease the burden of chronic disease. It then describes these diseases in detail, their risk factors, and the environmental and biological factors that have led to the current epidemic of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Finally, the solutions – and more importantly the process for finding solutions- is the subject of the last module. No one approach by itself can ever be the answer, and certainly not a simple diet and exercise approach.

The entire course consists of 5 content modules, plus an extra module for completing assignments and discussions, and takes about 6 weeks to complete. Completion certificates are issued on the basis of participation in all 6 modules.

What you'll learn:
- How the Charles Perkins Centre recruits interdisciplinary teams to ease the burden of chronic disease
- How a complex systems approach is necessary to provide solutions to a complex problem
- The fundamentals of chronic disease research and where it is heading
- The biggest risk factors for chronic disease and their global incidence
- The biological, genetic, social, regulatory, and other influences that have inflated these risk factors
- How to provide solutions globally for the reduction of chronic disease


  • Module 1 – Setting the Scene
    • This module looks at the impact of the increasing incidence globally of non-communicable, or chronic, diseases and how the Charles Perkins Centre is developing a new approach to this complex challenge.
  • Module 2 - The Big Non-Communicable Diseases
    • This module outlines the five major non-communicable diseases, Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Cancer, and the many risk factors that they share.
  • Module 3 - The key risk factors for chronic disease
    • In this module we look more closely at the main risk factors for the non-communicable diseases and at the impact our modern environment is having on the global burden of these preventable diseases.
  • Module 4 - How did we get here?
    • This module will provide an overview of the main factors in our biology, our environment, our food production systems, and our human psychology that have made us susceptible to the chronic disease health crisis.
  • Module 5 - Solutions
    • In this module we will consider in detail the complex challenges of finding solutions to chronic diseases and how these could be brought together in developing a systems approach to address these major chronic diseases and the threat they pose to individual and population health.
  • Wrapping up
    • This module gives you time to complete your final assignment and to reflect on what you have learned in the course.

Taught by

Stephen Simpson


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 153 ratings

Start your review of Easing the burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • Abdullah Ali Faiq
    Nice course thank you
    We hope you may provide more free online courses with certificates on your website coz these courses improve our knowledge and make us help other people by your education
  • Good experience of the course. I wish a good activities would show that. That's issue is a burning now. Whole of countries aware of that diseases.

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