Complex Bodies, Complex Ecosystems: The Global Challenge of Optimal Nutrition^


^Sustainable Food Systems Track course

Instructor: Dr. Sharon Akabas
Course number: ENVB 0413 N

Fulfills requirement: Nutrition and Health/Hunger OR Case Study (CS)
Day: Thursday
Dates: October 10, 17, 24, 31, November 7 (Module 2, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM

Course Description

This course will use a systems approach and an evolutionary perspective to focus on what humans need to eat for survival and health. We will examine how and why sufficient and optimal diets can be obtained through a range of dietary patterns, and how those patterns were and are rooted in different geographic and cultural regions. Throughout the course, the environmental impact of a given dietary pattern will be considered, and where possible, the economic determinants of individual food intake will be reviewed. We will incorporate a lifespan perspective throughout the course. This course will also examine how a food system that is more sustainable can lead to a reduction in heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and lower carbon and water footprints.

About the Instructor

Dr. Sharon Akabas is the Director of the MS Program in Nutrition and Associate Director for Educational Initiatives at the Columbia University Medical Center Institute of Human Nutrition. Dr. Akabas’ primary interests are in education of health professionals about the importance of nutrition as a modality in disease prevention and treatment. She works with professionals from almost all healthcare sectors to develop programs and curricula that focus on childhood obesity. These collaborations include organizing symposia for practicing health care professionals, working with community groups to develop obesity prevention programs, and working with a wide range of groups to identify, understand, and lessen bias towards overweight children and adults.