Five big issues in health

Understanding issues in health

Health topics

In this minor five major topics in health are discussed: occupational health, sexual health, physical activity, nutrition, and drugs and addiction. Each health topic will be discussed from various viewpoints: physiological, psychological, societal, social-cultural, and ethical viewpoint. The minor is advanced and interdisciplinary and consists of five courses, each discussing a current health topic.

Health @ Work: The course focuses on several big issues in occupational health. It gives insight in workplace factors affecting health and tools for keeping chronically ill patients working. It also addresses the influence of health on work (participation). Students will work on a specific occupational group, map the most important risks for developing a work-related disease, and develop a worksite health intervention to reduce those risks. The occupational group will be used as guidance to gain insight into the models, theories, and methodological issues relevant for occupational health in general, and on aging workers and prolonged work participation in particular.

Sexual Health: Threats and Opportunities: In this course, the focus will also be on opportunities of sexual behavior, such as creating new life and enjoying the presence of the other, being either male or female. Ethical dilemmas in relation to new methods of artificial human reproduction are discussed. Information is presented on sexual identity, transforming one’s identity and its relation to health.

Food for Thought: In this course we will discuss determinants such as sensory aspects of food (taste), portion size, social-cultural aspects and sustainability. In addition, students will design and perform their own small-scale research project on determinants of food consumption.

Moving Matters in Health: The course ‘Moving matters in health’ introduces theoretical concepts and empirical methods and findings in the domain of exercise and its relation to (psychological and physiological) health.

Drugs and Addiction: The course will allow students to become familiar with the epidemiology, psychology, neurobiology, psychopharmacology and therapy of addictive behaviour with a focus on nicotine, psychostimulant, heroin, cannabis and alcohol addiction as well as compulsive gambling.  Political and societal aspects of addictive behaviour will also be addressed.

For specific details about the courses, please check our study guide.

Admission and registration


The minor is open to students in Health Sciences, Health and Life Sciences, Human Movement Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Psychology from the Vrije Universiteit. Students from other universities and doing a similar education are also invited to participate. This minor is open for a maximum of 60 students. Selection is based on the order of registration for the minor. Internal students have priority.


Please see the application procedure for more information.

Questions about the programme

For specific questions regarding content, please contact Judith Neter via or +31205987702

Related master's programmes

Samenvatting Five Big Issues in Health




1 semester (30 EC)


1 september


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