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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Systems Science and Obesity by Johns Hopkins University

193 ratings

About the Course

Systems science has been instrumental in breaking new scientific ground in diverse fields such as meteorology, engineering and decision analysis. However, it is just beginning to impact public health. This seminar is designed to introduce students to basic tools of theory building and data analysis in systems science and to apply those tools to better understand the obesity epidemic in human populations. There will also be a lab in which students will use a simple demonstration model of food acquisition behavior using agent-based modeling on standard (free) software (netlogo). The central organizing idea of the course is to examine the obesity epidemic at a population level as an emergent properties of complex, nested systems, with attention to feedback processes, multilevel interactions, and the phenomenon of emergence. While the emphasis will be on obesity, the goal will be to explore ways in which the systems approach can be applied to other non-communicable diseases both nationally and internationally. Topics will include: a) the epidemiology of obesity across time and place, b) theories to explain population obesity, c) the role of environments and economic resources in obesity c) basic concepts and tools of systems science, d) modeling energy-balance related behaviors in context, e) agent-based models, systems dynamic models, and social network models...

Top reviews


Mar 31, 2019

Fantastic course. Really thought provoking, and well presented. Useful as an intro to systems thinking, and as a way to understand the obesity epidemic in a nuanced way.


Sep 11, 2017

This course was surprisingly challenging and educational. I had little background in system science, and very much enjoyed the learning process!

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1 - 25 of 51 Reviews for Systems Science and Obesity

By Dr S S

Jul 14, 2019

Tough to understand for someone from a non-math background. However basic concepts are easy to discern and learn in relation to obesity

By David C

Aug 10, 2019

I'm interested an any applications of systems science, and really enjoyed this. Great to get some applied hands on practice with systems dynamics and agent based modelling. Many thanks to all of the instructors!

By Charles d S

Apr 1, 2019

Fantastic course. Really thought provoking, and well presented. Useful as an intro to systems thinking, and as a way to understand the obesity epidemic in a nuanced way.

By Hugo G G H

Sep 12, 2017

Very interesting and useful tools for analyzing complex networks and designing interventions.

By Dean P

Sep 2, 2018

Great course! They explain greatly why obesity is a result that comes from complex socioeconomic systems. They also give you insight on how you can use software that can imitate such systems. By doing so, you can develop systems in your own comfort from your own PC and see the results. Truth is we need far more data and human systems are too complex, but this is a good initiative and we should pay attention to their findings! I hope in the near future to be part of a big system development that can bring clear results so that we can take definite action. My opinion is that we kinda know what to do, but some lobbies and established corporations are not changing their attitudw towards human public health and they keep sickening us. NOT TO MENTION cruelty against animals.

By Luis W D M

Feb 25, 2018

I am an electrical engineer who worked for a few years as a system's engineer. Lately I have been interested in studying how the dynamics in working environment affects itself. When I saw the System Science and Obesity course at Coursera I had the feeling it would present me some social concepts and tools which would give me a starting point. I had the feeling the knowledge the course offered would go beyond health systems. After finishing the course, I am really happy to conclude I was right. I am also really greatful to Johns hopkins professors who made this excellent course available. Thank you all!

By Daniel F P

Apr 11, 2020

El curso es muy completo y bien estructurado, con profesores de calidad y prestigio. Sólo remarcar que hay más de "systems" que de "obesity". Esto no es una crítica, sino un hecho a tener en cuenta si estás pensando realizar este curso.

También destacar, que es preciso tener cierto dominio del inglés, ya que algunas tareas son complejas y algunos vídeos pueden requerir un extra de atención, sobre todo aquellos en los que se dan instrucciones para manejar herramientas de software.

En general, el curso es una gran fuente de aprendizaje así que lo recomiendo totalmente.

By Amanda A

Jun 28, 2017

I thought this was interesting and informative. I'm neither a programmer nor a scientist so I had my doubts about how much I would get out of it, but I think it was at a good level for a beginner. Obesity seemed like a great topic to introduce systems science ideas and vice versa. I never felt too confused.

By Alex C

Aug 4, 2020

Great course. Loved learning about system science in a way that is relevant and urgent to health and society. The last part was a bit rushed and wonky but appreciated nonetheless. More case studies on policy and interventions would be great. Thank you!

By Altaf M S

Oct 28, 2019

It was wonderful start to learn the use of systems science for exploring world obesity problem. The system dynamics and agent-based methods learned in this course can be replicated for many other social and environmental problems.

By Luis T

Sep 29, 2017

The approaches to understand obesity in this course are really interesting and I enjoyed them. Obesity is such a complex problem and it was nice to learn from it with different softwares and a lot of different approaches.


Apr 8, 2020

Aprendí mucho de este curso, los diferentes docentes enfocaron con ejemplos reales la ciencia de la obesidad. Aunque el tiempo es complicado, siempre será bueno volver a revisar los documentos y seguir revisando.

By Paige V

Sep 11, 2017

This course was surprisingly challenging and educational. I had little background in system science, and very much enjoyed the learning process!

By Maria d J X A

Mar 20, 2022

Excellent course!! Congratulations to the organizers. Thank you!! It will contribute a lot to my research with network analysis and obesity.

By Joao C

May 24, 2020

Muito bom o curso... me fez abrir novas ideias para esse assunto...

Magnífico, muito obrigado ao COURSERA, plataforma incrível!

By A B

Nov 29, 2016

I' really enjoy this course. It's a complete view of the actual problem of obesity! Thanks a lot for all the effort!

By Melanie C

Jul 14, 2019

it's incredible to let information knowledge people from all over the world

By David O N S

Sep 6, 2016

Well round course, excelent for everybody ho is in charge of public health.

By olusola a

Feb 10, 2017

Inspirational, novel, one of its kind. Am glad to be part of the course

By Ngô T S

Aug 23, 2018

Finally, I finish this course. Thank you for your shared knowledge.

By Katherin T

Feb 1, 2023

It is a great course, new approach to obesity epidemic.

By Samta

Jul 10, 2020

It is such a wonderful course. Have learnt a lot.

By Galina B

Jul 10, 2016

I enjoyed very much the materials of the course.

By Morris G O

Jul 14, 2020

Thank you so much for everyone's contribution.

By Rubina G

Sep 27, 2016

very informative and extremely insightful.