Are exercise professionals fit to provide nutrition advice? An evaluation of general nutrition knowledge

Journal article


McKean, Mark, Mitchell, Lachlan, O'Connor, Helen, Prvan, Tania and Slater, Gary. (2019). Are exercise professionals fit to provide nutrition advice? An evaluation of general nutrition knowledge. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 22(3), pp. 264-268. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2018.08.018
AuthorsMcKean, Mark, Mitchell, Lachlan, O'Connor, Helen, Prvan, Tania and Slater, Gary
Abstract

Objectives
Registered exercise professionals (REP) are trained to provide structured exercise recommendations and general nutrition advice to healthy clients. However REP provide specific nutrition advice beyond their scope of practice, including diet-disease advice. The present study aims to investigate the level of general nutrition knowledge of REP, and compare this to a sample of community members (CTM), and university trained dietitians (DN).

Design
Age-matched REP, CTM and DN were recruited to complete the previously validated revised-general nutrition knowledge questionnaire.

Methods
Total nutrition knowledge score and section scores were compared between REP, CTM and DN. The impact of sex, age, level of education, and years’ experience on nutrition knowledge was investigated.

Results
A total of 554 participants completed the questionnaire (REP, n = 161; CTM, n = 357; DN, n = 36). The DN group performed significantly better overall (DN, 91.2 ± 4.6; REP, 78.4 ± 9.6; CTM, 75.4 ± 11.3) and for knowledge of dietary guidelines (DN, 82.3 ± 20.7; REP, 80.5 ± 15.5; CTM, 80.0 ± 14.1), nutrient content of foods (DN, 92.6 ± 4.4; REP, 80.9 ± 9.9; CTM, 75.7 ± 12.0), and diet-disease relationships (DN, 91.4 ± 9.7; REP, 65.4 ± 18.0; CTM, 68.6 ± 11.1) compared to the REP and CTM groups (p < 0.001). Sex, education and age were all significant predictors of total nutrition knowledge (p < 0.0005).

Conclusions
Total nutrition knowledge and knowledge of diet-disease relationships is limited in REP. Encouraging REP to work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team, including DN, will assist in providing optimal client care in achieving health and body composition related goals.

Keywordsnutrition knowledge; exercise professionals; diet-disease relationship; scope of practice
Year2019
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Journal citation22 (3), pp. 264-268
PublisherElsevier Ltd
ISSN1440-2440
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2018.08.018
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85053328388
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range264-268
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online13 Sep 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Aug 2018
Deposited22 Aug 2022
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