Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Diane McKay

Tufts OpenCourseWare
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Foundations of Nutrition Science, Fall 2012
D. McKay, PhD, FACN



  • Define energy balance, and discuss how changes in energy balance affect body weight
  • Describe the major components of "energy in" vs. "energy out."
  • State the relative contributions of the 3 major components of energy expenditure (basal metabolism, physical activity, thermic effect of food), and identify the most variable of these components.
  • List several factors that can affect BMR.
  • List the variables required to calculate your estimated energy (calorie) requirements or EER.
  • Define body composition, and list the 3 major components that make up a person's body weight
  • Define BMI, and describe the equation used to determine BMI
  • Summarize how BMI is used to define underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obesity.
  • Explain the health risks of too little and too much body fat, with an emphasis on central obesity and its associated health risks.
  • List the common methods used to assess body fat (body composition).
  • Describe the 3 factors that contribute to the female athlete triad.
  • Compare and contrast the major characteristics of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.


  • Describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity among American adults.
  • Describe how fat cells develop, and the role of LPL in fat storage.
  • Discuss how genetics, environment, and the regulation of hunger and satiety contribute to the development of overweight and obesity.
  • List the health risks associated with fad diets, weight loss products, prescription drugs and surgical interventions in treating obesity. 
  • Discuss the role of diet, physical activity, and behavior change as keys to managing body weight.
  • Summarize the characteristics of a sound eating plan for weight management.

Required readings:

  • Whitney & Rolfes, Chapters 8, 9; Highlights 8, 9
  • Eating Attitudes Self-Test (handout)
  • U.S. Obesity Trends: Trends by State 1985-2010 (click PLAY on first map)
  • Exploring Eating Habits (handout)

Supplementary readings and links:

  • Changing Behaviors to Support Weight Loss (handout)
  • Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients – United States, 1971-2000. (dated but still relevant) 
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity