Digestion, Nutrition and Metabolism

Unit code: HBM2103 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
St Albans
RBM1528 - Human Physiology 2; or
RBM1174 - Human Physiology; or
HBM1202 - Anatomy and Physiology 2
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


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.

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.

Study as a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree.

Learn more about single units of study at VU


For Melbourne campuses

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

Required reading

Understanding Nutrition
Whitney, E., Rolfes, S.R., Crowe, T., & Walsh, A. (2016)| Cengage Learning

As part of a course

This unit is not compulsory for any specific course. Depending on the course you study, this unit may be taken as an elective.

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