Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) is a unique department that examines aspects of human health, such as the psychosocial aspects of health, behavioral intentions, human movement and performance, and weight management with a focus on chronic disease and prevention. The curriculum builds on the biological, physical, and social sciences. Many health issues including obesity, heart disease, and cancer have been associated with a person's food intake and level of exercise. This has led to increasing emphases on health promotion and disease prevention, and nutrition and exercise professionals are integral members of the health care team. Additionally, students prepared in these content areas are sought after by healthcare professional programs such as nutrition and dietetics, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, medicine, athletic training, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing etc. Expanding research by private and government agencies focusing on the role of nutrition and physical activity in health, growth, and aging has created a demand for graduates at the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) levels who have a background and interest in laboratory and experimental methods in nutrition, foods and exercise science. Faculty and staff in HNFE include interdisciplinary teams that work towards molecular and clinical advances for the prevention and improved treatment of chronic diseases, behavioral discoveries that lead to effective intervention programs for youth and adults and speed the movement from research to practice.
There are two options from which an undergraduate student majoring in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise may choose: Dietetics (DIET) or Science of Food, Nutrition, and Exercise (SFNE).
The department participates in the University's Honors Program (see "Academics" in this catalog).
HNFE offers master's and doctoral degrees in specialized areas as they relate to nutrition, physical activity, and health. Graduate students may earn a M.S. or a Ph.D. in HNFE with an emphasis in Molecular and Cellular Science, Clinical Physiology and Metabolism, or Behavioral and Community Science. HNFE also offers a M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics. Completion of the M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics leads to eligibility to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
The graduation requirements in effect during the academic year of admission to Virginia Tech apply. When choosing the degree requirements information, always choose the year you started at Virginia Tech. Requirements for graduation are referred to via university publications as "Checksheets." The number of credit hours required for degree completion varies among curricula. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion. The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html for degree requirements.
Consult: Heather Cox, Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics
The undergraduate Dietetics option leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. This option is a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®). ACEND® is the education program accrediting agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Title IV gatekeeper. Following completion of the B.S. degree, a student will have earned an ACEND® DPD Verification Statement. A student must then complete a graduate degree and an ACEND®-accredited supervised practice program in nutrition and dietetics to be eligible for the Registration Examination for Dietitians Examples of eligible pathways to the RDN credential include a graduate dietetics program or graduate program completed before and along with a dietetic internship. Graduates from the Dietetics option are competitive applicants for the varied ACEND®-accredited supervised practice programs.
Dietetics option students are also eligible to apply to the accelerated track of the HNFE Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in the spring semester before they begin their final academic year. Accepted students are dual enrolled in the B.S. and M.S. programs and complete eligibility to take the board exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in an accelerated route.
The Dietetics option prepares graduates to assume a professional role in health care, research, the business/industry environment, public health, and to pursue graduate studies. Upon completion of a dietetics supervised practice program, alumni are eligible to become an RDN. Clinical RDNs in hospitals and outpatient clinics provide care to individuals with disease-related nutritional problems. Sports RDNs work with professional sports teams or university sports teams. Community RDNs work at worksite wellness programs, and community programs serving mothers and children, families of low-income, or older individuals. Business focused RDNs work for food and grocery companies, companies manufacturing nutritional supplements, and may represent medical or health products. Administrative RDNs with management interests find positions in management in a variety of settings such as school nutrition, health care facilities, college or university dining, or hotels and resorts. Registered Dietitians Nutritionists counsel clients of all ages, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and levels of education.
Students in the Dietetics option must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to remain in this option. Students who want to change their major into this option must have an overall GPA of 3.0. Please see the Satisfactory Progress section for additional requirements.
Consult: Renee Eaton, Undergraduate Program Director
Upon completion of the Science of Food, Nutrition, and Exercise (SFNE) option, a student is well-prepared for graduate work in many areas of nutrition, exercise physiology, or related sciences. This option also meets admission requirements for medical, dental, physical therapy, pharmacy, physician assistant, athletic training, nursing, and other health professions programs. It also allows students flexibility to tailor the degree toward long-term goals, including continued education in a health profession or employment. Students who enter the workforce have position titles such as clinical technician, fitness and health program coordinator, clinical research coordinator, medical scribe, surgical technician, rehabilitation aide, hospital recruiting specialist, exercise physiologist, health coach, strength and conditioning coach, and health educator. Students in this option gain knowledge, skills, and abilities specified by the American College of Sports Medicine for certification as a Certified Health Fitness Specialist and Exercise Physiologist. With the growing attention to the role of nutrition and exercise in health promotion and disease prevention, the SFNE option is especially appropriate for the student preparing for a career in medicine, physical therapy, or a related health field. Most students in the SFNE option plan to attend graduate or professional school.
Students in the SFNE option do not meet the ACEND® requirements for a degree in dietetics, and therefore do not earn a DPD Verification Statement. Students, however, may choose to earn both the Dietetics and SFNE options in the department.
A student in HNFE will be considered to have made satisfactory progress toward the degree when they have successfully completed:
Students not meeting Satisfactory Progress will have one probationary semester in which to resolve their standing.
Restricted Major status: Current Virginia Tech students who wish to change majors into HNFE (or add it as a second major) are required to have an overall GPA at or above 2.5 (3.0 for Dietetics), a grade of C or higher in CHEM 1035 General Chemistry, and a plan of study that shows appropriate course sequencing and Satisfactory Progress. The GPA threshold of 2.5 (3.0 for Dietetics option) is required for all students regardless of transfer status. Satisfactory progress towards the B.S. degree is enforced.
Head: Stella L. Volpe
Professors: G. Davis, B. Davy, K. Davy, R. Grange, E. Larson-Meyer, D. Liu, E. Serrano, E. Schmelz, S. Volpe, and J. Williams
Associate Professors: D. Good, S. Harden, Y. Ju, and V. Kraak
Assistant Professors: J. Basso, S. Craige, A. DiFeliceantonio, J. Drake, V. Hedrick, C. Rafie, S. Shin, and J. Stein
Collegiate Associate Professor: A. Anderson
Senior Instructors: H. Cox, N. Girmes-Grieco, and C. Papillon
Advanced Instructor: R. Eaton
Instructors: K. Chang and A. LaFalce
Adjunct Instructors: M. Rockwell, A. Steketee
Academic Advisors: E. Engel, S. Nelson, D. Pollio, and K. Wogenrich
Scientific information applied to current concerns in foods, nutrition and exercise as it affects the nutritional health well-being of humans. I,II
An introduction to the academic and career planning for students in the Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise major.
Participation in physical activity, fitness assessment, motor skill development. Awareness and development of the physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual components of wellness. Application of healthy lifestyle choices for improved quality of life. May be repeated with varying content, for a maximum of 6 credits. Pass/Fail Only
Introduction to the principal concepts of improving human physical capacity through sport, exercise training and diet. Emphasis on critical thinking and evidence-based decision making in describing the limits to human performance, responses, adaptations, and health benefits of exercise.
Introduction to the profession of dietetics with emphasis on competencies, preparation, and responsibilities associated with dietetic practice. Overview of the structure of The American Dietetic Association (ADA) and its relationship to the dietetic professional. Discussion of current professional concerns. II
Nutritional requirements and related health concerns of pregnant and lactating women, infants, children, adults and the elderly are studied in relation to the physiological and metabolic aspects of pregnancy, lactation, growth and development, maintenance of health, prevention of disease, and aging. 1 year of biology or chemistry required. CHEM 1056 may be substituted for co-requisite CHEM 1036.
Nutritional requirements and related health concerns of pregnant and lactacting women, infants, children, adults and the elderly are studied in relation to the physiological and metabolic aspects of pregnancy, lactation, growth and development, maintenance of health, prevention of disease, and aging. 1 year of biology or chemistry required. CHEM 1056 may be substituted for co-requisite CHEM 1036.
Methods of working intentionally towards cultivating optimal brain states. Mind/body practices to develop connections between contemporary neuroscience, movement, and meditative practices. Studies in the intersection of consciousness, movement, and thought. Introduction to yoga, meditation, authentic movement, experiential anatomy, and somatic work. Emphasis on holistic perspectives of the body through active listening, ethical reasoning, healthy self-image, and attention to the practices of intentional embodiment.
Structure, pronunciation, and use of medical terms; anatomical structures and body systems; terms used in pathology, testing, diagnosis, surgery, pharmacology and treatment.
Development of theoretical and practical skills for leading exercise in a group setting. Topics include: general guidelines for instructing safe, effective, and purposeful exercise, essentials of the instructor-participant relationship, the principles of motivation to encourage adherance in the group fitness setting, effective instructor-to-participant communication techniques, methods for enhancing group leadership, and the group fitness instructors professional role. Obtain knowledge of programming for multiple populations. Will complete a CPR and AED certification as a part of in-class instruction. Pass/Fail only.
Development of practical skills for conducting one-on-one exercise sessions for general healthy adults and special populations. Exercise selection, testing, training principles, and behavioral change skills required to be an effective personal trainer. Preparation for a nationally accredited personal training certification. CPR and AED certification. Pass/Fail only.
Assessment and treatment of emergencies in remote settings. Anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, personal and group safety and hygiene, patient assessment and documentation of treatment for trauma, medical emergencies, environmental emergencies, and long-term care. Team management of medical emergencies in wilderness context, organization and implementation of rescues, decision-making, leadership, judgment, and prevention. Prepares students to successfully complete a national certification exam. Pass/fail only.
Connections among active transportation (e.g., bicycling, walking) and significant global challenges such as physical inactivity, health, the environment, and the economy on local to global scales. Methods to assess walkability among communities with different worldviews and the influence of the built environment on rates of active transportation. Approaches to evaluate demographic and psychosocial predictors and physical and policy barriers to use of active transportation. Successful strategies to increase active transportation through community design guidelines, behavior change tools, transportation planning, and policy.
Introduction to the principles of integrative health that promote health and well-being. Examination of the person- centered integrative health treatment methods including holistic stress management, the human spirit, communication, energy healing, elements of meditation, healing environments, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, voice work, nutrition, therapeutic massage and bodywork, and healing effects of physical activity. Review of scientific evidence of integrative treatments.
Evidence-based practice in the field of health science. Utilization and evaluation of published research in literature. Answers to health and healthcare related questions. Identification of well-defined research questions using current frameworks. Best practices of healthcare policies.
Introduction to functional foods (foods with additional value beyond basic nutrition) including development of functional foods, novel sources, and traditional foods with value-added health benefit; regulatory issues; and media messages.
Introduction to behavioral theories used to design, implement and evaluate health promotion programs, and theories underlying health behavior change. Interactions between individuals, physical and social environments, interpersonal, and intrapersonal determinants of health behavior. Epidemiological evidence of benefits of healthful eating and physical activity.
A variable-content course. Explores significant contemporary topics in the areas of nutrition, foods, exercise and health. May be repeated for up to six credits.
Introduction to the foundations of exercise science as applied to healthy living, and the concept of exercise as medicine. Fundamentals of health appraisal, foundations of fitness training principles and prescription; nutrition and energy cost, and application of exercise prescription for disease prevention and treatment.
An introduction to the techniques and principles of athletic training. I,II.
Application of the principles of food science and food preparation techniques related to health promotion, disease prevention, and disease management. Selection, production, and evaluation of foods and beverages. Emphasis on experimentation illustrating chemical and physical reactions, sensory and physical properties, nutrient manipulation, cooking applications, and functions of foods.
Evidence-based practice in areas of human health assessment including: anthropometric measurements, vital signs, body composition, aerobic capacity, muscular strength, energy requirements, and health behaviors. Comparison and analysis of assessment methods.
Foodservice and meal management for the dietetics professional. Emphasis is placed on understanding food procurement, production, distribution, and marketing in a safe and well managed operation. I
Development of oral and written communication skills to communicate food and nutrition information to diverse populations. II
Designed to give students in the health sciences a basic understanding of the modern concepts regarding health and disease as well as skills in organizing epidemiological data, disease investigation and surveillance. Includes a survey of terms, concepts, and principles pertinent to epidemiology. Lifestyles of populations and the relationships between lifestyles and health status are studied. II.
Effects of exercise on physiology: neuromuscular, metabolic, cardiopulmonary. Scientific basis of physical training. I
The anatomical and biomechanical basis of human motion, with applications for motor skill acquisition, and development and rehabilitative exercises. I
Focused review of relevant and current literature in selected areas of food, nutrition and exercise. Develop practical strategies for finding research articles on specific topics utilizing a variety of search tools (e.g., library, on-line search engines, etc.). Develop analytical skills to critically assess the significance of published research data. Develop competence in written and verbal presentation of current research in formats suitable for a scientific or a lay audience.
Investigation of emerging dietetics topics including professional development, new technologies, current legislative issues, and promising evidence-based practice strategies. Integration of knowledge from previous courses to support quality dietetics practice will be emphasized.
4025: Study of bioenergetics and macronutrients, with emphasis on sources, interrelationships, and factors affecting utilization and metabolism. Emphasis on how carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins are metabolized following a meal, during fasting conditions, and when exercising. How metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins affects and is effected by metabolic disease such as obesity and diabetes will also be examined. 4026: Study of essential vitamins and minerals and their interaction with body systems, especially as these relate to food, exercise and health. Emphasis on how deficiency, toxicity and genetic conditions affect various organ systems, including bone, skin, digestive, and blood. Historical and regulatory policies, and scientific studies establishing recommended dietary allowances for micronutrients are considered.
Principles of food and nutritional toxicology with primary emphasis on food components and food toxins including absorption, metabolism and excretion. An overview of types of adverse food reactions including food allergy, food sensitivity, and food intolerance. An overview of U.S. and international lawas and regulation of safety assessment of foods including food additives, dietary supplements, and residues of contaminants, pesticides, and antibiotics. Analysis of food and nutritional toxicity cases in the context of the food system, regulatory policies, and public communication.
Study of nutritional diagnostic, therapeutic and counseling services provided by a registered dietitian. 4125: Emphasis on the relationship between principles of nutritional care and the medical treatment of individuals with selected diseases or clinical problems. 4126: Integration of knowledge of pathophysiology, biochemical, and clinical parameters, medical treatment and nutrition therapy for patients with selected clinical problems/disease states.
Study of nutritional diagnostic, therapeutic and counseling services provided by a registered dietitian. 4125: Emphasis on the relationship between principles of nutritional care and the medical treatment of individuals with selected diseases or clinical problems. 4126: Integration of knowledge of pathophysiology, biochemical, and clinical parameters, medical treatment and nutrition therapy for patients with selected clinical problems/disease states. 4125: I. 4126: II.
Use of didactic and experiential methods to learn and apply theories of behavior change in diverse nutrition counseling situations. Pre: Instructor approval. I
Nutritional requirements for the wellbeing and optimal performance of athletes. Methods of assessment and modification of diet, performance, and body composition in athletes. Evaluation of dietary ergogenic aids and supplements for performance and body composition.
Critical evaluation of health claims, mechanisms of action, and research literature for a wide variety of alternative nutrition therapies used for disease prevention and treatment. Practical application of knowledge through completion of problem-based learning projects.
Experimental study of the functions of ingredients and factors affecting food quality with emphasis on an independent project.
Interactions between foods and nutrients with genetics, genomic DNA, and gene expression in humans and animals. Genetic variants that affect optimal health, metabolism and nutrition in individuals, as well as inheritance of these variants in individuals, and allele frequencies in populations. Scientific, ethical, and legal considerations of genes and nutrition knowledge, personalized testing, and genetic engineering. Junior standing.
The application of nutrition principles to an analysis of current applied nutrition programs and a study of the political and legislative processes affecting the practice of dietetics. I
Study of social, cultural, and economic aspects of food systems, using quantitative and qualitative methods to assess nutritional status.
Roles, responsibilities, legal requirements and scope of the health professional. Interviewing, counseling, education, health promotion and behavior change strategies for diverse populations. Guidance and referral, health assessment, communication skills, and problem-solving. Application of counseling techniques such as goal-setting, ethical practice, cultural competence, evidence-based practice. Pre: Junior Standing.
4645: Experiential methods to apply theories of behavior change to promote nutrition and health changes. Learn and apply nutrition care process using evidence-based knowledge through providing client-centered counseling to individuals. Understanding of contemporary issues related to behavior change and emerging issues through review of lay and professional literature. 4646: Advance nutrition counseling skills through work with more diverse clients. Learn and apply quality improvement skills to enhance nutrition counseling service. Identify information on emerging issues and apply appropriately in counseling setting.
Advanced laboratory course in human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on how pathologic disease states affect human homeostasis. Congenital, genetic, chronic, and common global diseases with recognition and evaluation of causes, risk factors, and impact on body systems. Cadaver prosections will supplement models, specimens, and an advanced anatomy visualization system. Intended for students pursuing graduate education in health sciences.
A variable-content course. Explores advanced topics in the areas of nutrition, foods, exercise or health using higher- order thinking and problem-solving skills. Qualitatively and quantitatively assess current facts supported by scientific literature, as well as controversial issues with conflicting data. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Junior Standing.
Medical documentation and administration. Practical experience in locating, identifying, and evaluating anatomic structures Mechanisms of injury and healing process, testing and evaluation of athletic injuries, treatment and rehabilitation of injury to return to play. Not part of an accredited athletic training program.
Advanced study of human movement during exercise. Integration of biomechanical, anatomical and neuromuscular concepts in the regulation of joint movement associated with exercise, injury and disease.
Supervised experience with the Therapeutic Exercise and Community Health Center. Direct Involvement with rehabilitative and preventive exercise and lifestyle programming for cardio-vascular, musculo-skeletal, and other conditions. Exercise leadership, case management, and daily operations. Included seminars, lab experience, and individual meetings with participants and supervisors, related projects.
Functional properties of the neuromuscular system. Emphasis placed on the acute and chronic responses of muscle in exercise, rehabilitation and the factors which determine human performance. Special emphasis on the molecular biological factors responsible for skeletal muscle development and differentiation, as well as adaptation to training and disease states, including activation of signal cascades responsible for the changes in muscle performance.
Capstone internship experience in the fields of exercise science and/or health promotion. The student will be immersed in the day-to-day challenges and responsibilities of a practicing health-fitness professional. The 45 contact hours per credit will involve work experience in some aspect of exercise science and/or health promotion. Senior standing and Exercise and Health Promotion majors only. May be repeated for maximum 3 credits.