NS4410: Nutrition and Disease Current Topic Assignment
For the current topic assignment (CTA), you will play the role of an expert researcher who has
agreed to participate in an Expert Panel hosted by the American Heart Association (AHA). You
can find the formal letter from the AHA in the file “AHA Letter.” ! !
This assignment is designed to improve your ability to review the current evidence on an
important topic in nutrition, critically evaluate the data, and draw conclusions from the data and
your own knowledge of the topic. These skills are necessary for almost any career you will
pursue. Further, this topic is currently being debated by nutrition and health experts, and we hope
you find the project interesting, as well as useful.! !
The CTA learning objectives!
After successfully completing the CTA, you will be able to:!
1. Explain how substituting saturated fatty acids (SFA) with polyunsaturated fatty acids
(PUFA) affects the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).!
2. Interpret and critique results presented in a meta-analysis.!
3. Prepare written communication to address health and research recommendations about
SFA, PUFA, and CVD.! !
There are three major learning activities of the CTA: !
1. Critically read and understand a recent meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration
(See the file “Cochrane SFA meta-analysis” for a copy and details on which sections to
read thoroughly). There are no points per se for reading the meta-analysis, but you need
to read it to complete the remaining learning activities.!
2. Complete learning modules and questions (referred to as “a series of questions” in the
AHA letter). These are meant to guide you through the meta-analysis and help you
prepare the written assignment. A few key points:!
• A link to the questions will be posted to Blackboard during the week of Oct 12th.!
• You will have two opportunities to complete the questions. We will grade the
• The questions must be completed before class on Friday, October 23rd.!
• The questions are worth 15 points.!
3. Write a 1-2 page Expert Panel Policy Statement to address health and research
recommendations about SFA, PUFA, and CVD. A few key points:!
• The grading rubric is posted in the Blackboard file “Policy Statement Grading
Rubric.” The rubric has descriptions of exactly what we expect from you on this
• You only have 1-2 pages to address all of the criteria, so we recommend that you
start this early. Writing concisely is difficult, and is an important skill for you to
hone regardless of your career plans.!
• The policy statements must be submitted to Blackboard before class on Friday,
• The policy statement is worth 45 points.!
• Points will be deducted for tardiness (-5 pt penalty and then -1 pt per day of
lateness). A bonus point of +1 will be given for assignments deemed to be of
especially high quality.