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Unit information: Determinants of Physical Activity and Eating Behaviour in 2015/16

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Unit name Determinants of Physical Activity and Eating Behaviour
Unit code PHEDM4014
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Angie Page
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit focuses on the factors or determinants which influence physical activity and eating behaviours. Students are presented different frameworks and associated evidence to represent the personal, social and environmental influences on behaviour. Lectures and related workshops will encourage students to consider theoretical relationships between determinants as well as practical implications for manipulating them to achieve behaviour change in different populations.


The aim of this unit will be to investigate:

  1. To explore determinants of physical activity and nutrition behaviours within existing models and frameworks.
  2. To examine the interactions of determinants across different populations and how this affects behavioural outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. To outline determinants which are evidenced to relate to physical activity and nutrition
  2. To identify existing models that provide a framework for understanding personal, social and environmental determinants of physical activity and nutrition (cognitive vs behavioural approaches?)
  3. To be aware of the strength of evidence for personal vs social vs environmental determinants of physical activity and nutrition
  4. To highlight how determinants can be used to target individuals for intervention
  5. To examine how known determinants can be manipulated during interventions.
  6. To understand the complexities of measuring determinants in physical activity and eating behaviour.

Teaching Information

The main teaching method is face-to-face lectures plus small group exercises. Teaching takes place across four 1-day visits across 4 consecutive weeks.

Assessment Information

Assessment is through the completion of a written essay equivalent to 4000 words and is directly related to one of the learning outcomes. Students are required to show an in-depth understanding of the unit at a level consistent with a Master’s degree.

Reading and References

  1. Kremers SP, Visscher TL, Seidell JC, van Mechelen W, Brug J. Cognitive determinants of energy balance-related behaviours: measurement issues. Sports Med. 2005;35(11):923-33. Review.
  2. Ball K, Timperio A, Salmon J, Giles-Corti B, Roberts R, Crawford D. Personal, social and environmental determinants of educational inequalities in walking: a multilevel study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007 Feb;61(2):108-14.
  3. Bauman AE, Sallis JF, Dzewaltowski DA, Owen N. Toward a better understanding of the influences on physical activity and eating behaviour: the role of determinants, correlates, causal variables, mediators, moderators, and confounders. Am J Prev Med. 2002 Aug;23(2 Suppl):5-14.
  4. Salmon J, Timperio A. Prevalence, trends and environmental influences on child and youth physical activity. Med Sport Sci. 2007;50:183-99. Review.
  5. Patrick Gregory J. Norman, Béatrice A. Schmid, James F. Sallis, Karen J. Calfas and Kevin. Psychosocial and Environmental Correlates of Adolescent Sedentary Behaviors. Pediatrics Vol. 116 No. 4 October 2005, pp. 908-916.
  6. van der Horst K, Oenema A, Ferreira I, Wendel-Vos W, Giskes K, van Lenthe F, Brug J 2006 Jul 21. A systematic review of environmental correlates of obesity-related dietary behaviors. Health Educ Res. 2007 Apr;22(2):203-26.
  7. Are Current Health Behavioral Change Models Helpful in Guiding Prevention of Weight Gain Efforts? Baranowski, Cullen, Nicklas, Thompson, and Baranowski, Obes Res. 2003;11:23S-43S.