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Nutr Diet. 2019 May 17. doi: 10.1111/1747-0080.12545. [Epub ahead of print]

Clients expect nutrition care to be provided by personal trainers in Australia.

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Nutrition & Dietetics Department, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



To describe client expectations and the experience of nutrition care provided by personal trainers and explore factors that influence expectations of nutrition care.


A cross-sectional survey identified expectations of nutrition care provided by personal trainers. Likert scales explored expected nutrition care, nutrition knowledge of personal trainers and experiences of those who had received nutrition care from a personal trainer. Expectations were evaluated using descriptive statistics. Associations between expectations and participant characteristics were explored with Pearson chi-squared tests.


Six hundred twenty-seven Australian residents participated (77% female; 16-74 years of age). Participants frequently expected personal trainers to be knowledgeable about and discuss general healthy eating, muscle gain and weight loss. Half of the participants expected personal trainers to discuss and be knowledgeable about nutrition for chronic disease. Of the 334 participants who had engaged a personal trainer, 98% received nutrition care. Half of these participants (n = 167) were satisfied with the nutrition care they received, and 40% reported positive dietary changes because of their personal trainers' nutrition care. Tertiary education and perceived healthfulness of diet lowered expectations of nutrition care from personal trainers (P < 0.001). Engagement of a personal trainer did not influence expectations of nutrition discussions (P > 0.01) but increased expectations of personal trainer nutrition knowledge (P < 0.01).


Clients expect personal trainers to provide nutrition care. Client expectations may compel personal trainers to provide nutrition care beyond the recommended scope of practice. Strategies to manage client expectations, including awareness of the personal trainer scope of practice, are needed to ensure safe and effective nutrition care from personal trainers.


fitness professional; nutrition knowledge; nutrition skills; patient care


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