Objectives: The aims of this cross-sectional study were to describe the client experiences of registered exercise professionals (REP) in regard to nutrition advice, and to identify factors considered important when selecting a REP.
Design: A convenience sample of fitness facility-users were recruited. Participants completed a 46 item online questionnaire.
Method: Frequency distributions were calculated for nutrition advice received from a REP, confidence in the nutrition advice received, and factors considered when selecting a REP. The effect of sex and level of education on participant responses were investigated.
Results: A total of 455 individuals participated, of which 55.6% had worked with a REP. Participants working with a REP had received nutrition advice on body fat loss (77.4%), muscle gain (78.7%), and clinical nutrition (51.9%). Sex and level of education did not influence confidence in nutrition advice, with 60.7% of participants reporting being ‘very or extremely confident’ in the nutrition advice. Over half of participants (58.3%) prefer to work with a REP who offers nutrition advice. Basic and personal professional conduct were identified as ‘very or extremely important’ by >70% of participants when selecting a REP.
Conclusion: Clients of REP prefer to work with a REP who provides nutrition advice and are generally confident in this advice. Educating fitness facility-users on the nutrition scope of practice of REP and promoting the role of accredited nutrition professionals should be advocated. Encouraging REP to work collaboratively with nutrition professionals will help ensure clients receive appropriate nutrition care, while better allowing REP to remain within their scope of practice.
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- Exercise professionals
- Nutrition confidence
- Scope of practice
- Professional conduct