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News from June 2009

Leaders Need Reliable Nutrition Resources

June 11, 2009

In October 2008, AFLCA members were invited to participate in an online survey to determine what types of nutrition resources fitness leaders want. The results of this survey, which are summarized below, will be used to shape the direction of future nutrition initiatives. The survey was conducted by AFLCA and the Registered Dietitians at Alberta Milk.

“I would like a resource of nutritional information that I know I am permitted to read to participants, and that I can trust to be correct.”
-AFLCA Fitness Leader

Who Did the Survey?
Invitations to participate in the survey were sent by email to 1690 AFLCA members, and the email initiation as received by 1432 AFLCA members. Three hundred and seventy eight surveys were completed, which means the response rate was 26%.

  • All of the survey participants were certified fitness leaders, with the majority being certified group exercise leaders or certified personal trainers.
  • Many of the fitness leaders held multiple certifications.
  • The majority of the fitness leaders polled had been working as fitness leaders for more than ten years time.

Clients are likely to view fitness leaders as an extremely reliable source of fitness information.

Survey Findings
1. How often do Fitness Leaders Provide Nutrition Information to Clients?
** 34% of fitness leaders provide nutrition information to clients on a daily basis.
**36% of fitness leaders provide nutrition information to clients on a monthly basis.

Providing fitness leaders with an up to date and reliable source of nutrition information will assist them in providing their clients with accurate nutrition information.

2. What Resources Do Fitness Leaders Use for Nutrition Information?
**Fitness leaders use a variety of sources to gain nutritional knowledge. The most commonly identified sources of nutrition information were health professionals, fitness conferences, the internet, magazines, and colleagues.

Ninety percent of fitness leaders polled felt that Registered Dietitians (RDs) were the number one most trusted source of nutrition information. This was followed by University researchers (52%) and naturopaths (30%).

3. Who are Their Clients?
** Eighty six percent of fitness leaders polled stated that more than half of their clients are women. And fifty seven percent stated that more than three quarters of their clients are women.

4. What Type of Nutrition Resources do Fitness Leaders Want?

Fitness leaders prefer to learn about nutrition at seminars or from the Fitness Informer magazine and other printed resources. This suggests that printed nutrition resources will be effective at promoting nutrition knowledge among fitness leaders.

5. What Nutrition Topics Are Fitness Leaders Interested In?

Although the order of importance is different, the top four topics that fitness leaders and their clients are most interested in are the same. They are:
1) Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance
2) Nutrition Supplements
3) Pre and Post Workout Nutrition
4) Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating

Therefore, resources that address weight loss will likely be the most beneficial to fitness leaders.

Final Comments

Clients view fitness leaders as a reliable source of exercise and nutrition information. But with the many different nutrition messages that are portrayed in the media, it can be difficult for fitness leaders to determine which nutrition messages are true. As such, it is important that fitness leaders have easy access to accurate, reliable and up to date sources of nutrition information.

In Light of the Findings

The AFLCA and the Registered Dietitians at Alberta Milk will use the findings of this survey to shape the direction of future nutrition initiatives for fitness leaders.

One great resource:

Dieticians of Canada Website

Registered Dietitians

The titles “Registered Dietitian”, “Professional Dietitian”, “Dietitian”, and, the abbreviation, “RD” are protected by law. Only legally certified practitioners who have met education qualifications can use these titles. Many Registered Dietitians working in community settings will call themselves “Registered Nutritionists”.

One Reliable source: