Personal trainers are well placed to provide nutrition care in line with their recommended scope of practice. However, providing nutrition care beyond their recommended scope of practice has been identified as an industry risk. The International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs) have international standards for nutrition knowledge and skills that are recommended for all fitness professionals, including personal trainers. This study investigates whether the ICREPs standards align with i) national nutrition education standards and ii) national nutrition occupational standards and scopes of practice for personal trainers within ICREPs affiliated countries. Content analysis of each standard and/or scope of practice was undertaken to extract nutrition statements. Extracted statements were matched with nutrition components of the ICREPs standards to result in a score based on the number of aligned ICREPs knowledge and skills criteria. Ten countries, with 16 organizations, were identified as being involved in the development of national education standards, occupational standards, or scopes of practice for personal trainers. The educational and occupational standards varied widely among countries and had minimal alignment with the ICREPs standards. As such, the expected role of personal trainers in providing nutrition care appeared to differ between countries. Further work is required to support personal trainers to develop a level of knowledge and skills that enables the provision of safe, consistent, and effective nutrition care.
The authors are with the School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Southport, Australia.