University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Webmail | Maps | Newsroom | What's on

27227 Critical Issues in Health and Wellbeing

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2016 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject explores and examines a range of contemporary health issues that exist in Australian society. It focuses on a social view of public health to deepen knowledge and understanding of the fundamental health principles and explore a range of health models. The social determinants of health are examined to highlight the limitations of medical approaches and introduce the social model of health. Knowledge and understanding of lifestyle, sexual and mental health issues are critically analysed by examining the range of physical, social and cultural determinants that impact on health and wellbeing. The subject enables students to identify and discuss preferred solutions to critical issues in health and wellbeing, and provides an overview of the links between behavioural risk factors and illness and mortality as well as between health behaviours and disease prevention and wellness. Students learn behaviour change principles and strategies for effective implementation of healthy lifestyle goals and habits.

Subject objectives

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. understand factors that impact health and wellbeing: including individual behaviour, environmental and social factors across the lifespan
B. demonstrate knowledge of current issues and research pertaining to health and wellbeing
C. discuss the key issues regarding adolescents at risk, and harm minimisation strategies.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This is a core subject for students in the Bachelor of Human Movement degree. It is also essential for students intending to enter the Bachelor of Teaching in Secondary Education (PDHPE stream). It provides an overview of the links between certain behavioural risk factors (such as smoking, high-fat diet, chronic stress) and illness and mortality; as well as between health behaviours (such as balanced nutrition, exercise, good sleep habits and stress reducing activities) and disease prevention and wellness. This subject is compulsory for students who wish to be accredited as PDHPE teachers by the NSW Institute of Teachers.

Teaching and learning strategies

Teaching and learning strategies include formal lectures, tutorials, experiential activities, group discussions and student presentations. Content for this subject will be supported by UTSOnline.


  • Understanding health principles and the current health status of Australians
  • The health and wellbeing of young people
  • Physical activity and obesity issues in Australia
  • Nutrition and body image
  • Mental health and resilience
  • Suicide prevention strategies
  • Risk behaviours and harm minimization: drugs and driving
  • Road traumas and harm minimization strategies
  • Relationships and sexual health
  • Indigenous health
  • Creating safe spaces: child protection
  • Global health issues
  • Predictive and personalised health care


Assessment task 1: Media Resource Folder

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Discussion Facilitation or Role Play (group)

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: Final Exam (This is a Faculty based exam)

Weight: 40%

Recommended texts

Keleher, H., & MacDougall, C. (eds) 2011, Understanding health: A determinants’ approach, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Students are advised to acquire their own copies of these texts. Copies of these texts are available at the UTS library on closed reserve. All other readings, other than text books, will be available via links from within UTSOnline. The required readings for this subject will be advised on UTSOnline prior to the lectures and tutorials. Please bring the readings to the tutorial class in the week required.

NB: It is essential that students complete all required readings. The required readings will be considered assumed knowledge for tutorial classes and the examination.


Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, 2011, Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2011, ISBN 978-1-74249-171-4; Cat. no. PHE 140; 250pp

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012, Australia’s health 2012, AIHW, Canberra.

Baum, F. 2007, The new public health: An Australian perspective, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Bouchard, C., Blair, S. & Haskell, W. 2007, Physical Activity and Health, Human Kinetics Inc. Champaign.

Germov, J. (ed) 2009, Second opinion: An introduction to health sociology, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Green, J., & Tones, K. 2010, Health promotion: Planning and strategies, 2nd edn, Sage Publications, London.

Jones, K., & Creedy, D. 2008, Health and Human Behaviour, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Lianmputtong, P.,Fanany, R., & Verrinder, G. 2011, Health, Illness and Wellbeing, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2008b, Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final Report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, WHO, Geneva.

Other resources

UTS Student Centres

Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at both City and Kuring-gai Libraries. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.