Behaviour, Health and Nutrition

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course will apply to students' knowledge of key aspects of diet and nutrition and their role in behaviour, cognition, mental and somatic health. The course provides insight into how diet can be seen as part of a larger picture of life. Theoretical knowledge within sleep, circadian rhythms, energy metabolism, brain function and stress is reviewed, as well as what structural and individual factors may explain the development of food intolerance, eating disorders and obesity. Students will develop competence and skills in what are good and effective measures to promote a healthy diet with emphasis on the interplay between individual and structural factors.

The course will provide an introduction to both diet/nutrition as an important basis for behaviour and mental health, as well as measures that can be implemented to promote a favourable diet with aspect to mental health. The development of measures will be seen in relation to the observed increase in obesity that is occurring both in Norway and in other western countries.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the subject, students should have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:



  • have knowledge of key elements of nutrition and brain function
  • have knowledge of malnutrition as a risk factor for the development of mental health disorders
  • have knowledge of the interaction between the brain, nutrition, energy regulation and emotional and cognitive functions
  • have knowledge of the interaction between the brain, nutrition, energy regulation and circadian rhythms and sleep
  • have knowledge of the connection between the brain, nutrition, energy regulation and stress
  • have knowledge of the psychobiological aspect of appetite regulation and eating behaviour
  • have knowledge of the psychobiological aspect of eating disorders and overeating
  • have knowledge of the psychobiological aspect of functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • have knowledge of the psychobiological aspect of food intolerance
  • have knowledge of health-promoting diets
  • have theoretical knowledge of preventive health work, which includes:

    • Knowledge of attitudes and behaviour
    • Preventive measuers aimed at diet related disorders
  • have theoretical knowledge of health behaviour models, behavioural changes and motivation
  • have knowledge of eating disorders, which include:

    • Diagnostic criteria, clinical understanding
    • Central hypotheses about how such disorders develop
    • Health consequences of eating disorders
    • Psychological interventions and the role of therapist
    • Measuring methods to measure eating behaviour, eating disorders and physical activity



  • can independently and without the use of external aids disseminate knowledge acquired on the course through the use of academic writing and give a clear presentation of theory and empirical data

General competence


    • can convey and discuss key perspectives and themes within the biological, psychological, social and structural aspects of nutrition

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
The course is open for students admitted to the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
The teaching is given in the form of lectures and seminars.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

A multiple-choice test. The student must answer at least 2/3 of the questions in order for the test to be approved.

The compulsory teaching activity must be approved before you can take the exam in the course.

Forms of Assessment
A 4 hour written examination at the end of the course. The students are required to answer 2 out of 3 essay assignments.
Assessment Semester
Autumn and spring
Reading List
The bibliography will be ready by 01.12 for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
Students will evaluate the teaching at the end of the semester, in line with quality assurance system at UiB.
Examination Support Material
No support material allowed
Programme Committee
Department of Biological and Medical Psychology
Course Coordinator
Department of Biological and Medical Psychology
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Psychology