Skip to main content

Nutrition & Food Equity and Ethics

Course Status

East Baltimore
Summer Institute
Berman Institute (Bioethics)
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Students should take this course if they are interested in understanding how inequities impact the nutritional status of populations around the world and the ethical implications of certain food system policy decisions to address those inequities. This course will be an important contribution to students’ understanding of how governance and power asymmetries in food and health systems impact diets and nutrition for the most marginalized populations. Students will learn how to use both ethical and social determinant framings to understand, address and mitigate inequities that impact the most nutritionally vulnerable.
Introduces and explores the equity and ethical issues of the nutritional and food systems sciences field in both policy and practice. Provides students with the opportunity to think critically about a variety of conflicting views of who is marginalized and disadvantaged across food systems and hence, nutritionally vulnerable. Explores what is considered a healthy diet, where there are inequities in accessing a nutritious diet, and what are the implications of policies in achieving food and nutrition security. Borrows tools from practical ethics, political philosophy, and theories of justice to shed light on these issues that determine our common future and the way we personally and socially relate to the food we eat.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe theoretical/conceptual foundations for the human right to health and the right to food
  2. Identify who is nutritionally marginalized and vulnerable in different regions of the world
  3. Appraise why certain populations are marginalized and the systemic issues that perpetuate this marginalization
  4. Analyze what nutrition and food system “interventions” and political actions present ethical dilemmas that influence equity using ethical and social determinant frameworks
  5. Identify who is responsible (the duty bearers) in taking action to ensure that nutritional gains are equitable across populations
  6. Define and distinguish between equity, equality, ethics, human rights, and social justice as it relates to nutrition
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 20% Participation
  • 80% Final Paper
Special Comments

course will be co-instructed by Swetha Manohar. Please review her bio here: