Nutrition Around the World (Section 1)

1559-503:
Discipline: Biology
Instructor: Lancaster
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 4 - Tuesday, 28 October | Ghana Download Syllabus

Study of the science of human nutrition provides a relevant and fascinating way to familiarize students with fundamental biological, public health and cultural principles related to food that will be useful to them in their daily lives. Examining nutrition around the world allows a glimpse into the various roles that food plays in our health, welfare, culture, and social interactions. Topics to be included are: The human body and the different kinds of nutrients required by humans; the metabolic processes that transform food into energy and the chemical building blocks for the creation and renewal of cellular structures; and the basic scientific principles of energy balance that determine weight gain or weight loss, as governed by diet and exercise.  The course will also examine the ways in which food is produced, prepared and distributed; and the politics and policies in selected countries that affect food production and consumption. Students will be able to examine the public health implications of local solutions to meeting nutritional needs, the cultural, religious and gender influences on food choices, food sufficiency, and the relationship between proper nutrition and health maintenance. As we visit three continents, we will sample the food and participate in the food culture of the countries we visit.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 4 - Tuesday, 28 October

Accra, Ghana stretches along the Ghanaian Atlantic coast and extends north into Ghana's interior with an estimated urban population of 4,010,054 as of 2012. The infrastructure has not grown in proportion to the population so traffic is an issue as are the availability of many services.  For example, growth of Accra in recent decades due to immigration from the Americas, European, Asian, including African nationals and other nationals from all over the world, has outstripped the provision of services such as waste collection, potable water and electricity. Because of immigration there has been a rise of large slums.  Many of the slums are being demolished because of their negative effect on the environment. At present, the dusty roads leading into Accra are lined with open-fronted shacks and stands selling a range of foods and other products.  People who are poor far out number the middle and upper income groups. Observing the foods that are available to people in the more urban versus the fishing village areas will help students learn about nutrition in a country different from their home country.  The goal of the field lab is to examine the barriers and facilitators that Ghanaian people have in obtaining nutritious food. We will look at the differences in these factors in rural versus urban Ghana and in relationship to the area in which the SAS students live. Academic Objectives:

  1. Identify the options available to people who live in Accra for choosing nutritious food.
  2. Consider the relationship of the nutrition of the food people eat to their income.
  3. Describe the observed barriers that people of lower socio-economic levels have in choosing nutritious food in Ghana.
  4. Select and eat a nutritious meal in a local Ghanaian restaurant and consider the nutritional value and the price in compared to what the student would eat in his/her home country.