Human Biology & Nutrition BSc/MSci

Energy Balance (Impact of Lifestyle) 4X core BIOL4267

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will consider recent research evidence regarding the impact of habitual diet, exercise, sedentariness, and age on components of energy balance and thus on body weight and body composition and consider mechanisms involved in energy balance regulation. Students will also learn about the mechanisms preventing body weight loss during exercise programmes and caloric restriction and leading to the regain of reduced body weight. They also will learn about body composition methods and methods used to measure and estimate energy expenditure and its components. Energy status of athletic populations, including relative energy deficiency in sport, will also be considered.


There are normally 3 hours of teaching on Mondays, which may be split over more than one session.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a scientific report based on research data analyses (30%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The course aims to equip students with a critical understanding of the physiological mechanisms involved in energy balance regulation, so they can interpret studies and research considering the impact of lifestyle and environment, as well as critique body composition and energy expenditure measurement and estimation techniques. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Discuss the concept and measurements of energy balance in different contexts;

■ Evaluate and discuss the evidence on how energy balance and thus body composition is influence by dietary and physical activity habits and age;

■ Evaluate and discuss the evidence for dietary and physical activity interventions aimed at disturbed energy balance;

■ Discuss the impact of life style changes on physiological mechanisms preventing body weight reduction and leading to body weigh regain; 

■ Discuss methods used to measure body composition; 

■ Discuss energy status of athletic populations; 

■ Evaluate evidence and data produced during research studies. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.