Degrees and courses for international students
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Improving health and wellbeing

All health and social care practitioners have a role in supporting others to improve their health and wellbeing. While the Making Every Contact Count  initiative is one example of this approach, all practitioners are expected to promote health as part of their role. This 40 hour non-accredited online course uses interactive teaching material and case studies to explain how nutrition, exercise, alcohol, smoking and stress are influenced by individual factors, family dynamics, locality and wider society.  Biological, psychological and social issues are considered. Discussions of lifestyle and social change connect your study to public health concerns.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

This 40-hour multimedia online course is focused on:

  • the way in which health and wellbeing can be understood as arising out of individual biological and psychological factors. A model for understanding personal change and an approach to supporting people to make lifestyle changes will be discussed.
  • how family background shapes health behaviour and the kinds of interventions that attempt to address family issues.
  • the way in which an individual’s locality shapes their health and wellbeing. Community-based interventions and local action are explored.
  • how health is related to the nature of society. Legislation and regulation will be discussed in relation to food law and packaging. The role of the government and business in health will be discussed.

This course will appeal to any practitioner in health and social care interested in the basics of health and wellbeing. It would also be of interest to carers, service users and those who are interested in getting into the field of health and social care.

You will learn through readings, interactive activities and audio, video and animated material.  Although this course does not carry university credit, regular computer marked tests and self reviews can be used to test your understanding.

A Learning Advisor will also be available to you via a forum on the website, to answer questions and provide advice on the course learning resources and help you apply your learning to your workplace.

This course will require around 40 hours of your time in total. The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes – and the learning is far richer than more expensive one-to-three day workshops. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University from its years of expertise in supporting learning. You'll benefit from:

  • the convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials and activities whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the protected course website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.  Note taking templates are available and saved for you in the virtual learning environment.
  • receiving a Statement of Participation  which you can use to demonstrate your continuing professional development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credits.)

Some of the pages within the course contain links to external sites.  Accessing these sites is part of the allocated study time for the course. You may also wish to undertake additional background study or reading if some of the concepts introduced are completely unfamiliar to you.

Vocational relevance

The course focuses on person-centred practice and is highly relevant to staff working at all levels in health and social care (registered staff and non-registered support staff), those directly involved in frontline care and those who need to understand the importance of supporting and empowering service users to make changes to their lifestyle and promote healthier living. Participants will establish a strong link between what they learn and their work practice.

The way the course is delivered means it is accessible to people working in acute, community and domiciliary settings; staff have access to learning at any time that suits them (24/7) and can refer back to case studies, guidance and learning points at any time – even after they have completed study. This ensures that outcomes from study can be applied in practice long after the course has been completed. We are proud of the way the course creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes for health and social care service.

Professional recognition

Completion of the course enables us to recognise your work through an OU statement of participation that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

Outside the UK

This course has been written primarily for a UK context, in that examples are drawn from the UK.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements. For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace. The course will be open to you for a time period of between 6 and 18 months depending on your course registration date and you will be advised of the specific time limitations upon enrolment.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.


    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £185.00 Register

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2019/20 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials are delivered entirely online. All study is self-directed.  The course does not include tuition.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.