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University of Leeds

Causes of Human Disease: Nutrition and Environment

University of Leeds via FutureLearn


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Explore how nutrition and environmental factors influence our health.

On this course you’ll look at the importance of nutrition in human health and explore what happens to the body when it doesn’t receive the right nutrients. You will focus on malnutrition and obesity and how these contribute to the development of diseases, such as diabetes. Using research from the University of Leeds, you’ll learn how food can lead to ill health by carrying pathogens that cause food poisoning, or toxins linked with diseases such as cancer. You’ll then investigate environmental factors, including air pollution and its contribution to cardiovascular diseases.

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in the science behind causes of human disease and medicine. No previous knowledge or experience is required. If you are working in nursing, healthcare or social care or just wish to learn more about it, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.


  • Food and nutrition
    • Welcome
    • Malnutrition and disease
    • Obesity and disease
    • Food safety and disease
    • Revision
    • Summary
  • Environmental exposures
    • About Week 2
    • Environmental factors and disease
    • Waterborne toxins and disease
    • Air pollution and disease
    • Revision
    • Summary

Taught by

Michael Routledge


4.4 rating, based on 32 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 86 ratings

Start your review of Causes of Human Disease: Nutrition and Environment

  • An excellent class. It is a challenging and still a very practical class. Very interesting assignments and evaluations.

    I was able to apply so much that I learned in this class, in practical life. It is a learn and apply class, as well as an academic class. It inspired learning through research findings and also engaged learners in research and learning from each other.

    The final quiz is also very interesting and I was able to learn a lot while taking this test. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in learning further in the field, applying toward a lifestyle change, and satisfying general curiosity about the topic.
  • Anonymous

    I thoroughly enjoyed the course especially after so many years away from academics! It was very easy to follow and i loved that you could watch a video,easily find links and build up from there as well. There wasn't an onslaught of information that had you drifting off into space while trying to make sense of what was being said;it was clear,concise and well delivered.
    That said,i did find the assignments a bit challenging and i don't personally feel i gave them my best shot...but i learnt a lot and i am interested in going in for another course!

  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this amazing course which has opened my eyes to the many causes of disease from our environment. In particular, I would like to highlight the section on Air Pollution as the region where I live (South East Asia) has been affected b…
  • Anonymous
    I really liked the ‘Causes of Human Diseases: Nutrition and Environment’ course. This course taught me many aspects related to nutrition, lifestyles and the environment, even in a short period of time and focusing on the most important aspects- such as vitamin A, malnutrition, lifestyles, obesity, air pollution and some toxins.

    I appreciated the course for the presence of good support material and for having reflexive activities for fixation of the contents, requiring us to research and deepen knowledge.

    I would recommend this course to anyone who is interested in epidemiology and also to those looking to reflect on lifestyles.

  • Anonymous
    I have decided not to continue with this course. I felt that it tried to cover too much in too short a time. And I was disappointed to discover that some of the information given as fact was disputed when I researched it in other sources e.g. Concerning the carcinogenic properties of the chemical Acrylamide found in baked starchy foods : America Cancer Societies web site said " So far, reviews of studies done in groups of people (epidemiologic studies) suggest that dietary acrylamide isn’t likely to be related to risk for most common types of cancer" Whereas this course suggested otherwise.
  • Anonymous
    I have fully enjoyed the course. It's so much to take in, and the information are presented in a very nice, concise and methodical way. It's packed with lots of information, some of them I knew already, but some were totally new to me, and I was really amazed on learning them.
    Definitely I will put in practice whatever I learned in my daily life. The course was a real eye opener, and I'm looking forward to doing some other similar recommended courses soon. I will also recommend this course to my friends and colleagues.
    Thanks to all the team.
  • Anonymous
    This course is absolutely amazing,
    though it it a course easy to follow where anyone can learn from independent of background , it is extremely informative for doctors ( like myself ) and scientists ( a new road I have decided to embrace ) . This course can help us all at public level but it’s excellent for educating professionals in order to work together and address the important public health message that this course contain . I started the course for free and now I have decided to pay for in order to come back to it at anytime. Great course !
  • Anonymous
    I previously worked as a volunteer in health abroad in India and Paua New Guinea and this course would heve been useful before starting.

    It was full of information on many causative factors influencing our health, and also well researched. I learnt about the environmental factors such as heavy metal pollution in Pakistan with arsenic in the water which contaminates rice crops and endocrine disruptors such as BPA which mimic our hormones.

    Other important topics covered were malnutrition, obesity and food safely.
  • Anonymous
    I found the course to be extremely informative, interesting and well produced. A first for me - all the research to be done, reports to be written and assignments. I felt I had enough information and links to websites for future study on my own, as I did not want to continue in depth. Having been retired for many years my studying days are over.
    I really appreciate Future Learn - such inspiring courses. I have done many over the years and hope to do many more. Thank you Future Learn (especially now with LockDown ).
  • Anonymous
    I am a Biochemist and teach Biochemistry to medical students. I wanted to increase my knowledge to improve my teaching. To my surprise, I found this course is for every single person who eats or drinks! It teaches you how to improve your diet, develop healthy habits, and be on the lookout for environmental pollutants. Having knowledge is the first step to win the battle.
    Also, the information provided is interesting and easy to follow.
    I definitely recommend this course to all who wish to improve their health.
  • Anonymous
    I took this course out of general interest during Covid-19 stay at home. It gave a very good general overview on all the topics mentioned and challenged the student to do their own research and form their own opinions. I had vague ideas abut many of these topics and it was good to spend the time learning about them. I find with these courses that there isn't any feedback on comments from the mentor. It would be good to have somewhat of an interactive dialogue and challenges to what students are posting.
  • Anonymous
    I used to think my knowledge in science is good to some extent but taking this course helps me realise I do not know much about science (health) especially in the aspect of nutrition. Ever since I have started taking this course ,I feel more proud of myself when I talk to people about nutrition, the kind of food they should eat and why they should eat them. Also, I've improved on practising what I know and learn thanks to this beautiful course.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very well presented , I enjoyed the aspect of an emphasis on participants doing lots of research. It is a vast subject and I wish the Course had been longer as I found out many things I didnt know and would have thought the vastmess and importance of the subject would lend towards a longer course.
    I was though disappointed at the lack of mentorship which happens on most courses I hve done.

    Pam Watters
  • Anonymous
    I'm really sorry but I didn't get too far into this course but realised early on that this was not the course for me. One of the first questions was multiple choice given three examples of a breakfast, the first was a croissant with butter and jam, the second eggs cooked in vegetable oil and the third muesli, well, I just couldn't get past why a nutrition course would be advocating cooking in vegetable oil.
  • Anonymous
    This course is useful for everyone particularly health professionals. All parts and sessions are impressive informative & knowledgeable for me I learned to much above my expectations. I suggested all healthcare providers especially community health & social workers this course is beneficial for you all .

    With regards

    Rehmatullah Malik Pharmacist J & K Health Services Doda India.
  • Emmanuel Udoh
    I took this course because I wanted to gain extra knowledge relating to nutrition and in all honesty, I wasn't disappointed. Every step in the course was made for easy understanding and comprehension.
    I am glad I took the course and I recommend it for others too who are interested in learning about the causes of diseases : nutrition and environmental factors.
  • Anonymous
    Taking the course was a good learning experience for me. The different aspects of the course have been designed to make learning easy to flow with; the tasks and quizzes help to make sure that learners are not just skimming through the course. It will be nice if learners are given the opportunity to take the end of course test without having to upgrade.
  • Profile image for Eman Burzeiza
    Eman Burzeiza
    It was an interesting and helpful course.
    My hope if can be all course free for countries suffer from wars like my country couldn't unlimited or upgrade course.
    I am complete the course but i just couldn't take the test at 2.19 or take a certification, it's so frustrating .
    Thanks alot for wonderful course.
  • Anonymous
    Thanx alot for UNIVERSITY of LEEDS to provide that course which focus on human health and causes of diseases actually till now I don't finish this informative amazing course but what I learned till now I implemented in my diet and lifestyle really thanx alot for learning and teaching us
  • Anonymous
    I really recommend this corse to anyone thinking about or who has an interest in Human Sciences and the college corse Health and Social. This gives you a great insight of what might you learn about about and gives you that extra boost before starting any related corse:) x

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