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Unit information: Physical Activity and Nutrition Interventions: Conceptualisation and Design in 2021/22

Unit name Physical Activity and Nutrition Interventions: Conceptualisation and Design
Unit code PHEDM4015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Russ Jago
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will focus specifically on the issues associated with designing diet and physical activity interventions for different target groups. The course will demonstrate how the MRC guidelines for complex behavioural interventions can be used to design and evaluate diet and physical activity interventions for children, adults, and seniors. The module will include discussion and analysis of formative research, process evaluations, media campaigns, environmental interventions, randomised controlled interventions and will address issues related to cost-effectiveness of interventions. Case studies of key interventions related to specific lifestyle conditions as well as their successes and failures will be presented and used to facilitate the students development of their own interventions.


  1. To evaluate the key issues associated with designing effective diet and physical activity interventions.
  2. To assess the strengths and weakness of different intervention approaches for key participant groups (i.e. children, adults seniors etc).
  3. To develop the necessary skills to design and/or evaluate a new diet and physical activity intervention

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. To obtain an understanding of intervention design, including the concepts of mediation and moderation.
  2. To develop the skills necessary to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different intervention designs.
  3. To develop the skills necessary to design and evaluate an effective diet or physical activity intervention for different target groups or disease.

Teaching Information

The unit will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of lectures, group discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

Assessment will be in two parts. Part 1: Peer assessment of group designed diet or physical activity intervention (25%)

Part 2: Provide a report in which a new diet or physical activity intervention (for different group to part 1) is designed. Report will include an overview of the theory used to design the interventions, rationale for the target group, selection of the study design, hypothesised mediators and moderators of the intervention, description of the intervention and evaluation (including resource implications, process evaluation and cost-effectiveness) and dissemination plan. (3000 words - 75%.)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHEDM4015).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.