Introduction Descriptive Epidemiology and Public Health


About this course

The course teaches you the basic concepts, measures and study designs of descriptive epidemiology and public health. All course concepts are embedded and illustrated within a nutritionalepidemiology research context. Descriptive studies investigate when, where and among whom health and disease in certain populations occur. Results of these studies can be used by policy makers in the field of public health. Different epidemiological and public health measures are introduced to describe health, disease and mortality. You will learn when to use these measures and how to calculate them. In addition, you are introduced to some major diseases which are important from a nutritional perspective, such as diabetes mellitus, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
As a (nutritional) epidemiologist you need to know where to find valid data on disease occurrence (prevalence and incidence) world-wide. This will give you insight into differences between countries or regions. However, even data from reliable sources need to be interpreted with caution. Therefore in this course we have series of online discussion exercises that focus on a few diseases which are important from a nutritional perspective, such as diabetes and cancer. These exercises are used to illustrate epidemiological principles and stimulates critical thinking about epidemiological measurement. The same we will do for mortality and life-expectancy.
This is a fully, mainly asynchronous, online course. The content of this course largely overlap with the course HNH-24806 Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Describe the field of epidemiology and public health and the work of scientists in this field
  • Calculate basic measures used in epidemiology and public health, including: prevalence, incidence rate and proportion, DALY, Years of Life Lost, Healthy Life Expectancy
  • Understand basic study designs used in descriptive epidemiology and public health and indicate the major (dis)advantages of the various study designs
  • Perform standardization of public health data
  • Describe the disease process, global information about the spread of the disease worldwide, time trends in incidence and prevalence, for infectious diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and osteoporosis

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

  • Completed none of the course modules listed below
  • Intro to Epidemiology and Public Health (HNH24806)

Link to more information

  • Credits
    ECTS 3
  • Level
  • Contact coordinator
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      25 October 2024
    • Term *
      Period 1
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 4 Aug 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University