This unit will introduce the relationships between gastrointestinal function, nutrition, metabolism and human health. The unit covers the gastrointestinal structure and function, the neural regulation of gastrointestinal functions; chemical nature of the nutrients, their roles in body structure and function, and their handling by the gastrointestinal system, the body as a whole and their metabolism. It extends this physiological knowledge by examining the energy intake and regulation; dietary guidelines; and the role of nutrition in maintaining good health. This unit will also examine the role of diet in chronic diseases.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


RBM1528 - Human Physiology 2 or

RBM1174 - Human Physiology or

HBM1202 - Anatomy and Physiology 2

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Integrate gastrointestinal physiology with nutrition and metabolism;  
  2. Evaluate the role of the enteric nervous system in the regulation of digestion;  
  3. Assess the different macro and micronutrients, their role within the body and commonly used laboratory approaches;  
  4. Contextualise the importance of digestion, metabolism, nutrition and energy balance to the wellbeing of an individual;  
  5. Analyse the role of diet in the development of common chronic disease states;  
  6. Apply knowledge to solve problems in the area of digestion and nutrition both independently and collaboratively.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Two (2) Topic Tests (30 minutes each) 20%
Report Two (2) Laboratory Reports (800 words each) 35%
Case Study Case Study (1.5 hours) 45%

Required reading

Understanding Nutrition Australian and New Zealand 3rd Edition
Whitney, E., Rolfes, S.R., Crowe, T., & Walsh, A. (2016)
Cengage Learning

RECOMMENDED TEXT Silverthorn, D.U. (2016) Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach 7th ed. Pearson

Where to next?

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This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

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