Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
I hold three degrees: BS in nutritional sciences, BS in kinesiology, MEd in kinesiology: clinical exercise physiology. I completed the requirements of a dietetics program to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) during graduate school after having a nutrition degree. This meant 2 more years of classwork and 1200 hours of supervised practice rotations in a competitively admitted, accredited program that I had to show significant experience and competence in the field to even be admitted into. I was in school for 9 years. I also got a certified personal training credential from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which is one of the NCCA accredited personal training certifications. I feel that having a BS in kinesiology should exempt me from having to pay for certifications. I have to compete against people who have no formal training in either nutrition or exercise, some training in one of the fields who profess expertise in both fields, and business degreed people who know how to sell supplements that aren't in the best interest of the public but that make themselves a living saying they are "certified." While I agree the public should have a choice of qualified practitioners, there is no requirement on who is a nutrition and exercise expert in order to practice, which devalues my achievements and knowledge. I would like more regulation in both fields (nutrition and exercise) in the form of a tiered system that allows those who attained significant credentials distinguishment from those who lack it. Of course, there are those who are well qualified who are not certified (certification defined as having an RD or NASM-CPT in my case). Some have master's and PhD degrees in nutrition and/or exercise but are not considered a trainer or registered dietitian (because it is a protected title). Any laws made should allow those with this level of achievement some level of recognition. I am against those with no level of formal achievements in nutrition and exercise from calling themselves the same as me, a real professional. I use the term "exercise physiologist" to distinguish myself from personal trainers who got an internet course on exercise and printed out a certificate, but it is an unregulated term also. I am not the same as a PhD researcher exercise physiologist, who dedicate their lives to the laboratory, but I have studied underneath these men and women and passed their exams, which should distinguish me from the people who call themselves nutrition and fitness professionals without any formal education. There are disjoint certifying bodies in the fitness field with a fair amount of population representation each, and there is pretty much one nutrition certifying body (the Commission on Dietetic Registration) with a handful of renegade credentials out there with a very small fraction of members that the CDR has. Again, there is no regulation of the term "nutritionist." Currently, an RD is required for certain jobs because the employer wants it. In the business world (free practice/small business), there is no requirement for who calls themselves what. In Texas, there is just title protection for the word "Licensed Dietitian" but there is no exclusive scope of practice. As an educator who provides education for future personal trainers (I teach the ACE personal training instruction course at UT, and I have been a TA in the nutrition department for years before), I have to tell my students that nutrition IS in their scope of practice from the 1 hour we spent on learning the information. This does NOT make them fit for use by the public!!! To be successful with nutrition, you have to know how to work with counseling techniques, know the science, stay up on the science, etc. With exercise, you have to do the same thing. It is no longer safe for the public to have a nonspecific workout of the day as evidenced by the increase of rhabdomyolysis with under-credentialed trainers.