Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Bachelor's Degree Programme on SPORTS SCIENCE
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

Knowledge and understanding
The student must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the bio-psycho-social and nutritional issues related to obesity and thinness and the role of exercise and proper nutrition in the prevention and treatment of these conditions, with particular regard to pediatric age. The student must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the biological basis of dietary behavior in normality and pathology considering the importance of environmental factors in the food choices that guide the individual giving particular emphasis to the cognitive, emotional and motivational aspects;
Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
The student must be able to define categories of weight excess, identify individuals with eating disorders and Prader Willi syndrome, assess the extent of physical capacity limitation in relation to weight and recognize deficits in cognitive-spatial functions, understand the meaning of correct caloric intake in a diet and recognize the different foods and nutrients; understand the energy value of food and be able to calculate the expenditure and energy needs of the organism. understand and be able to use the various methodologies to evaluate an optimal state of health, to design protocols of physical activity adapted to excess weight in children and personalized protocols of adapted physical activity able to improve cognitive deficits detected through particular neuropsychological tests behavioral; recognize the signs of discomfort related to experiences of bullying or body image disorders.
Autonomy of judgment The student must be able to autonomously analyze what has been learned, placing himself critically and integrating the knowledge deriving from the modules of Pediatrics, Nutrition Biochemistry and Neurobiology, in order to develop an integrated and multidisciplinary approach towards subjects with obesity and eating behavior disorders so as to reach a wider autonomy of judgment.
Communication skills The student must be able to explain in a simple way, but with a scientifically correct language, the knowledge acquired with particular regard to the promotion of healthy behaviors for the prevention of obesity and eating disorders.
Learning skills: The student must demonstrate that he has understood the objectives of the course through the discussion in the classroom of the topics of the program, the analysis of international scientific articles and self-evaluation paths on the proposed themes.


The student must possess general knowledge provided by the courses of Biochemistry, Physiology, Methods and teaching of motor activities, Methods and teaching of sports activities. He must also have knowledge of the anatomical-physiological foundations related to the Nervous System and the basic knowledge of general psychology and sport psychology.


• Macronutrients. Protein. Function, peptide bond, essential amino acids, proteins of animal and plant origin, proteins with high biological value. Nutritional needs. Lipids. Classification, function, triglycerides, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, hydrogenated fatty acids, palm oil. Nutritional needs. Carbohydrates. Classification, function, index and glycemic load of foods, blood glucose regulation, nutritional requirements.
• Micronutrients. Water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Structure, classification, properties, biological role, food sources. Structure, classification, properties, biological role. Water-soluble vitamins. Group B, vitamin C. Food sources, recommended levels of intake, consequences of deficiencies. Fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin K. Food sources, recommended levels of intake, consequences of deficiencies.
Phytochemicals. Antioxidants. Nutraceuticals.
Macroelements: sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium. Trace elements. Trace elements.
• The water. Water and the human body, water balance.
• Foods. Characteristics and classification. Food groups. Group I food: milk and dairy products II group II: meat, fish, eggs, legumes. Group III foods: cereals, derivatives, potatoes. Group IV foods: fats and condiments. V group foods: vegetables and fruit. Beverages.
• Bioenergetics and energy requirements. Energy value of foods. Calorimetric bomb. Digestibility coefficient. Calories of macronutrients. Expenditure and energy needs of the organism: basal metabolism, direct calorimetry, indirect calorimetry, predictive equations; thermogenesis induced by the diet, thermogenesis induced by physical activity. RDAs.
• Analysis of body composition. Lean mass and fat mass. Body composition. Two-compartment model. Pentacompartmental model. Instrumental analysis of body composition.
• Balanced feeding. Mediterranean diet. Food pyramid. Macronutrient breakdown.
• Nutrigenetic and nutrigenomics. Food evolution. Lactose intolerance. Celiac disease. DNA diet.
• Metabolic regulation of the feeding and fasting cycle. Metabolic pathways involved. Glucidic metabolism. Insulin and glucagon. Hexokinase and glucokinase. Gluconeogenesis.

The course is divided into 3 modules: Pediatrics (24 hh), Nutrition biochemistry (24 hh) and Neurobiology (24 hh)

Pediatrics module
Block 1 Growth and development
 Statute-weight growth and puberty. Adipose tissue, distribution and function. Changes in body composition with age. Anthropometric measurements: BMI, folds and circumferences. The percentiles. Definition of underweight, overweight, obesity in children and adults
Block 2 Obesity
Epidemiology. Causes. Physical consequences and psycho-social correlates
Block 3 Magrezza
Epidemiology. Causes. Disorders of eating behavior and body image. Consequences..
Block 4 Weight control strategies
Modification of eating and motor behaviors, reduction of a sedentary lifestyle. Physical and psychological difficulties with movement. Exercise adapted to the severity of obesity in the child (type, intensity, frequency).
Block 5 Prevention strategies for obesity and eating behavior disorders
The importance of physical efficiency for health. The role of the family, the school and the community.

Nutrition Biochemistry Module
Block 1. Concepts of nutrition
Food paradox. Food education. Evaluation of nutritional status.
Block 2. Hydration. Metabolism and water balance.
Block 3. Nutrients
Macronutrients. Protein. Lipids. Carbohydrates. Index and glycemic load of foods. The fibers. Nutritional needs.
Micronutrients. Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Phytochemicals. Antioxidants. Nutraceuticals. Minerals. Macroelements. Trace elements. Trace elements.
Block 4. Foods
Characteristics and classification of foods.
Block 5. Bioenergetics and energy requirements
Calorimetric bomb. Digestibility coefficient. Calories of macronutrients. Basal metabolism. Direct and indirect calorimetry. Thermogenesis induced by diet and physical activity. RDAs.
Block 6. Analysis of body composition
Lean mass. Fat mass. Body composition. Bicacompetimental bicompartmental models. Evaluation of body composition. Direct and indirect methods.
Block 7. Balanced feeding
Mediterranean diet. Food pyramid. Macronutrient breakdown.
Block 8. Nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic
Food evolution. DNA diet.
Block 9. Metabolic regulation of the feeding and fasting cycle
Nutrition and fasting periods: metabolic pathways involved. Glucidic metabolism. Insulin and glucagon.

Neurobiology form
Block 1: Structure and function of the CNS
Macroanatomy and neurophysiology of the central nervous system, the autonomic nervous system and the enteric nervous system. Neuron and glia.
Block 2: Food regulation systems
Hunger and appetite. The hypothalamus is the center of hunger and satiety. Signals of regulation of short and long-term hunger. Weight and body fat regulation. Grelina, leptin and insulin. Mood and temperature. Sleep, pediatric sleep requirements and food regulation. Sugar and the circuits of addiction.
Block 3: Food and brain
Nutrients for the brain (phosphorus, fatty acids and vitamin D). Serotonin and wellness. Neuroplasticity and food. Brain reserve and cognitive reserve.
Block 4: Obesity, thinness and cognitive functions
Cognitive functions and executive functions. Main behavioral tests for the assessment of cognitive functions in pediatric age. Comparison between healthy, obese and with syndromic obesity (Prader Willi syndrome). Effects of sedentary and excess or defective malnutrition on cognitive functions. Eating behavior disorders in sports.

Teaching Methods

The course includes lectures


Reference texts
Pediatrics module
Lecture notes and selection of scientific articles to support the handouts available on http://e-scienzemotorie.uniparthenope.it/moodle/course/view.php?id=29
G. Valerio Eziopatogenesi- Fattori ambientali: attività fisica. in “L’obesità in età evolutiva”. a cura di L. Iughetti, S. Bernasconi. McGraw-Hill, Milano 2005 pp 66-70
G. Valerio Strategie di controllo del peso corporeo - L’ attività fisica nel trattamento dell’ obesità. In “L’ obesità in età evolutiva” a cura di L. Iughetti, S. Bernasconi. McGraw-Hill, Milano 2005 pp 169-174
G. Valerio Strategie di controllo del peso corporeo - Riduzione della sedentarietà. In “L’ obesità in età evolutiva” a cura di L. Iughetti, S. Bernasconi. McGraw-Hill, Milano. 2005 pp 174-177
G. Valerio L’attività fisica quale strategia primaria di controllo dell’obesità infantile. In “Il cibo e la mente” a cura di V. Zappia, M. Fabrazzo, M. Di Sapio, G. De Benedetta, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Napoli 2010. pp139-146,ISBN 978-88-89946-07-7
G. Valerio, L. Iannone Comportamento alimentare, immagine corporea e sport. La rivincita dei corpi. Movimento e sport nell’agire educativo. FrancoAngeli Editore, Milano 2010: pp 169-175 978-88-568-3472-7

Nutrition Biochemistry Module
Notes provided by the teacher available on the course website http://e-scienzemotorie.uniparthenope.it/moodle/course/view.php?id=29
Recommended texts for further information:
-Pierluigi Biagi, Antonio Di Giulio, Amelia Fiorilli, Antonello Lorenzini. - “Nutrizione per lo sport 1 - Principi di nutrizione” - Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
-Ugo Leuzzi, Ersilia Belocco, Davide Barreca “Biochimica della nutrizione” Zanichelli

Neurobiology form
L. Mandolesi “Cibo, cervello e comportamento”. Bibliotheka Edizioni, Roma, 2016.
L. Mandolesi “Neuroscienze dell’attività motoria. Verso un sistema cognitivo-motorio”. Springer-Verlag, Milano, 2012.
L. Dalla Ragione, M. Scoppetta “Giganti d’argilla. Disturbi del comportamento alimentare”. Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Roma, 2009.
L. Dalla Ragione, S. Pampanelli “Prigionieri del cibo. Riconoscere e curare il disturbo da alimentazione incontrollata”. Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore, Roma, 2016.
Foti et al. (2011), Behav. Genet. 41(3):445-56. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9471-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21541643

Learning assessment

The assessment of learning takes advantage of evaluation courses carried out in the form of direct comparison and with group discussion with the teacher in order to review and summarize the main points. During the final exam, carried out in an oral way, the acquisition of the topics treated through the structured exposure is evaluated with references to the concept of nutrition and health, to verify the achievement of the training objectives. The exam will be conducted with questions aimed at ascertaining the acquisition of the knowledge and skills acquired and the ability to make interdisciplinary links related to Biochemistry and Nutrition, and questions related to the knowledge of the problems of proper nutrition, to verify the achievement of the objectives training.

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