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Nutrition and Physical Activity for Health

University of Pittsburgh via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


Over 65 percent of adults and over 30 percent of children meet the classification of being overweight or obese, and with this excess weight comes numerous health conditions that include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and even impairments in cognitive function. Because in most cases the core cause of obesity and its related health conditions is a poor quality of diet and lack of sufficient physical activity, it is no surprise that to reverse this health problem a foundation of proper nutrition and sufficient physical activity is imperative.

This course is designed to provide a foundation of nutritional knowledge to develop a sustainable pattern of healthy eating. To this will be added a foundation of knowledge related to physical activity and exercise. These two key lifestyle behaviors are then brought together under the umbrella of calorie balance, which is the understanding of how we balance the calories that we eat in our diet with the calories that we burn to sustain life and to perform all of our daily tasks and functions.

Ultimately, this information can only be of value if individuals understand how to engage in these healthy behaviors within their daily lives when they are faced with challenges and barriers. This course will address key issues and will provide information on effective strategies for adopting and maintaining these targeted behaviors as they apply to the adoption and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.


There are no required textbooks for this course. Please see the list of recommended readings and references below. There will also be links to online documents and resources provided throughout the course.

Week 1:
  • Module 1: Linking Nutrition and Physical Activity to Health Outcomes
  • Module 2: Assessing Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Body Composition
Week 2:
  • Module 3: Macronutrient Considerations: Carbohydrates
  • Module 4: Macronutrient Considerations: Proteins
Week 3:
  • Module 5: Macronutrient Considerations: Fats
  • Module 6: Vitamins
Week 4:
  • Module 7: Minerals
  • Module 8: Strategies for Improving Nutritional Habits
Week 5:
  • Module 9: Physical Activity Consideration: Aerobic vs. Resistance vs. Lifestyle
  • Module 10: Strategies for Improving Physical Activity
Week 6:
  • Module 11: Calorie (Energy Balance): The Interaction of Nutrition and Physical Activity
Final Examination

Taught by

John M. Jakicic, Ph.D., and Amy D. Rickman, Ph.D., RD, LDN



4.3 rating, based on 3 reviews

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  • Jason Galloway

    Jason Galloway completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course is a good overview of the latest thinking on health and nutrition. I learned a lot, some of which was surprising (like, for instance, the role of exercise in weight loss). That being said, the course can feel a bit overwhelming at times because they cover a LOT of material, so you may need to self-study to make sense of all of it. Still, though, an interesting, useful class that I strongly recommend.
  • Jayne McCormack

    Jayne McCormack completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    I have college (UK college - 16-18 year olds) qualifications in science, so a lot of this course covered old ground to me. Its focus is towards health-care workers or individuals learning about nutrition for either their own weightloss / fitness knowledge or to help other people. It covers a broad range of subjects, but I would have like more practical examples for helping achieve behaviourial changes in the course material. I'm left with a feeling that it just needed an extra week to build on the "Calorie Balance" subject.
  • Anton

    Anton completed this course.

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