Obesity, Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Key information

Start date:
To be confirmed

Contact details:

Module overview

This module is designed to be a clinically orientated and practical course. It will lead to an understanding of the rationale behind current approaches to care of patients in obesity and weight management, as well as to anorexia and eating disorders.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the physiological regulation of energy intake and expenditure
  • Define the global importance of obesity and diabetes in epidemiological terms
  • Review the treatment of eating disorders and the role of nutritional support
  • Debate the influence of nutritional factors versus environmental factors in the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes
  • Compare and contrast the effectiveness of various obesity treatment and management strategies
  • Assess the relative contribution of nutritional, pharmacological and lifestyle factors in the management of diabetes, obesity and eating disorders
  • Apply the technique of motivational interviewing to context of diabetes and obesity
  • Evaluate the impact of clinical intervention of obesity treatment and management strategies in own clinical practice
  • Use research literature and full range of library and online resources for module assignments.

Course content

Indicative content includes, some or all of the following topics:


  • Definition as BMI; limitations of BMI as a concept; body fat content
  • Epidemiology of obesity: Effects of age, sex, ethnicity, geography and socio-economic status
  • Aetiology of obesity: Genetic factors; environmental effects, dietary patterns; endocrine abnormalities; energy balance regulation; hormonal, metabolic and physiological influences on energy expenditure; appetite regulation; theories of satiety; abnormal eating patterns
  • Distribution of body fat: Android and gynoid obesity; genetic and hormonal influences
  • Obesity management: Implementing diet and lifestyle changes; surgery and physical interventions; effectiveness of treatment strategies; very low calorie diets; fad diets
  • Motivational interviewing workshop
  • Consequences of obesity: Morbidity; insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, CVD.


  • Epidemiology of diabetes
  • Classification, main features, increasing prevalence, theories in relation to refined carbohydrates
  • Mechanisms of blood sugar control and insulin action: carbohydrate and fat metabolism
  • Aetiology: Type I, insulin secretion, b-cell dysfunction; type II, defective insulin secretion insulin, effect of fetal nutrition, link with obesity; factors affecting insulin sensitivity - genetic, nutritional, environmental,  pharmacological
  • The metabolic syndrome - including current debate about the usefulness of the concept
  • Potential role of micronutrients in the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia as a consequence of disturbed fat metabolism in the diabetic state
  • Tissue damage in diabetes: CVD, diabetic nephropathy, neuropathy, cataract, retinopathy,  etc.
  • Free-radical damage in diabetes: Glycation and tissue damage; protection from free radicals; increased micronutrient demand
  • Clinical consequences of poor glucose control
  • Hypoglycemia: Iatrogenic and spontaneous
  • Dietary management: Balancing the diet; dietary management with insulin therapy; non-starch polysaccharides; eating patterns; physical activity; weight reduction and very low calorie diets; nutritional supplementation to enhance glucose control and minimise tissue damage, potential liabilities of nutritional supplementation
  • Treatment with pharmacological agents: Drug-nutrient interactions.

Eating disorders

Anorexia and bulimia: incidence, metabolic and pathological consequences; nutritional and psychological factors in aetiology; treatment of eating disorders - hospitalisation, pharmacological treatments, nutritional treatments, psychological therapy.

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Journal club
  • Class discussions.


Assessment for the module is optional for those taking it as a short course. Assessment is compulsory if it is being taken as part of an award programme. Please contact the course leader, Martin Whyte, or the Programme Administrator, Angeliki Panagiotara, for further details.

Summative assessment

The summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Coursework: a range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module.
  • You will be required to submit the coursework electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

In order to complete the assessments you will, as a starting point, be required to demonstrate knowledge obtained from the course material and reading. The essays will also require you to discuss and reflect on the material. Coursework essays are expected to be well researched and referenced.

Formative assessment

You will receive feedback electronically and module organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.

Course leader

Martin Whyte profile image

Dr Martin Whyte

Associate Professor of Metabolic Medicine

Reading list

You will be required to do some reading prior to the module starting, take a look at the reading list.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree in either a medical degree (MBBS, MBChB), Biology, Biological Sciences, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nutrition, Nutritional Science, Human Nutrition, Dietetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Medical Microbiology, Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Natural Sciences, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Sport and Exercise Science, Psychology, or a recognised equivalent international qualification.

Applications that do not meet these criteria will also be considered based on relevant experience.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each component.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

Fees and funding


How to apply

Please download and fill in an application form.

Send your form back to us at the address or email included on the form.

Please ensure that you have completed all sections and answered all questions, uncompleted forms may result in delays and ultimately missing out on available places. 

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Angeliki Panagiotara Programme Administrator

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH