Public Health Nutrition as a Profession

Aileen Robertson

    Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalAbstractResearchpeer-review


    Most health policy priorities are diet related, including reduction of social health inequalities, prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and healthy aging. Unhealthy dietary patterns, high blood pressure and obesity are major risk factors for NCDs such as cancers, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There exists enormous potential to promote health and prevent diseases through targeting unhealthy life style, and it is crucial to develop a qualified public health nutrition workforce to reduce the NCD burden. Professionals with broad capacity within the field of public health nutrition are necessary to identify and respond to the current health challenges. However, public health nutrition has not been recognized as a profession in all countries. Public health nutrition (PHN) is an evolving profession within nutrition science that focuses on solving nutritional problems affecting population groups rather than those of individuals. Central elements of the profession are to assess the impact of various aspects of the food systems on the nutritional status, health and health inequalities of population groups, and to develop, recommend and implement evidence-based measures to improve dietary intake and nutritional status of population groups. These measures may be environmental, educational, social, economic, structural, political and/or legislative. The knowledge, skills, competencies and cultural heritage of the broader community should form a basis for all analyses and actions. The competencies required to be an effective PHN practitioner has been described by several scholars as well as by the World Public Health Nutrition Association. However, there is considerable diversity of workforce capacity in different countries. Most countries in the world have under-developed workforces to address PHN issues, including the Nordic countries. The Nordic network on Education in Public Health Nutrition (NEPHN) was established in 2014 with support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The aim of the network is to further develop PHN education to train highly qualified experts who can handle nutrition related challenges in the Nordic region and globally. The network facilitates exchange of lecturers, students, innovative educational resources and teaching methods and supports the consolidation of PHN as a recognized/accredited profession throughout the Nordic region. The network has done a mapping exercise of public health nutrition education offered in the Nordic region, and will develop a common curriculum in PHN and common online courses (MOOC). Academic institutions from each of the Nordic countries are represented in the network. The network is open for all Nordic academic institutions offering public health nutrition education or courses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date26 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016
    EventPublic Health Nutrition as a profession - Århus, Denmark
    Duration: 26 May 201626 May 2016


    PresentationPublic Health Nutrition as a profession


    • health, nutrition and quality of life
    • Public Health Nutrition

    Cite this