Improving Weight Management Outcomes by Collaboration between Nutrition and Exercise Professionals
By Karen Dolins, EdD, RDN, CSSD, CDN; Melinda M. Manore, PhD, RD, CSSD, FACSM;
Rosa K. Hand, MS, RDN, LD, FAND; and Gary Liguori, PhD, FACSM
Weight management is an important issue for many Americans because it is closely linked to
overall health and the ability to lead an active lifestyle. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
(Academy) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) each have professional
members who are registered, licensed or certified to help individuals reach these personal weight
and health related goals. There are times, however, that the needs of a given client may fall
outside the scope of practice for either professional. This article summarizes the results of an
ACSM/Academy member survey that examined how Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)
and ACSM certified exercise professionals (ACSM Certs) provide healthful eating and physical
activity (PA) advice to clients related to weight management, including where roles overlap and
gaps exist. By working together (e.g. through purposefully seeking each other out, sharing
information, making appropriate referrals, and attending lectures and workshops in the other
3 area) these two professions can build relationships that integrate dynamic energy balance and
enhance the weight management outcomes of their clients.
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After reading this article, health and fitness professionals will be able to:
- Understand the results of the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Certified Exercise Professionals survey, including how the two professions perceive their role in providing healthful eating and physical activity advice related to weight management.
- Describe professional scope-of practice limitations for both RDNs and Certified Exercise Professionals in the area of weight management.
- Describe the importance of professional collaboration in helping individuals achieve health-related body weight goals.
Key words: Scope of Practice, Physical Activity, Nutrition, Weight Management, Dynamic Energy Balance