Charging for nutrition services
Here at Cadence Health we spend a lot of time assisting people over the phone in understanding the whole grey area of nutrition as a profession. I thought that popping down the main points in a blog might just be helpful for those of you who are not nutritionists but want to work in some way with nutrition (or more appropriately healthy eating).
Let's work backwards which should bring us to our own answers. One of the most important aspects to any business or service is insurance. If you can't be insured to work with nutrition then to do so would be very unwise. To gain insurance in most cases you will need a current base qualification in health or fitness, registration to an industry body can help in some circumstances and relevant up-skilling courses such as those that we offer. If in doubt a quick call to an insurer is very wise.
Let's have a look at some scenarios people commonly come to us with:
A. I've been really successful in changing my lifestyle and have lost a lot of weight, I want to share what I have done and help others eat better. If I do your course will I be able to work as a food coach? I don't have any qualifications in fitness or health, I have worked in administration most of my working career.
ANSWER: The short answer here is likely to be 'no'. Without a base qualification it is unlikely that you will find an insurer to cover you for indemnity or liability. And, while you could work on a voluntary basis, if you were to charge for your services without insurance you are putting yourself and those around you at great risk not just in terms of the advice you might give but also financially should you be faced with a law suit. It might only take one person miss-understanding a recommendation, experiencing a reaction and then suing you.
But... The fabulous news is we have a perfect program that will enable those without a relevant qualification to work as a Recognised Nutrition & Health Coach. The course is a stand alone qualification with the option to register with the International Institute of Complimentary Therapists and gain insurance to practice. This course enables you to assist clients in reaching and permanently maintaining a healthier lifestyle through activity, healthy eating habits and mental fortitude. Many people ask us 'what's the difference between your program and the health coaching programs out there?' Health coaching tends to focus on broad life goals, using motivation and psychological principles to 'kicks' people into action. Health Coaching instead focuses on health behaviour change, it goes beyond the baseline health approach and encompasses, healthy eating, assessing and changing habits, healthy physical activity, healthful lifestyle and balance. Its a collaboration partnership that fosters healthy change. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do, but yield the most powerful results!
Oh, but wait there's more. This course pathways to a Bachelor of Health Science in either Nutritional Medicine or Naturopathy and depending on your electives you can also move into a Post Graduate Certificate in Wellness Coaching. The sky is the limit!!!
B. I'm a personal trainer with Cert III and IV, I really feel like fitness is just one piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle and want to be able to provide my clients with some direction regarding their nutrition. How much can I say and do with them?
ANSWER: With just Cert III and IV the nutrition units you have covered in essence state that any information or recommendations you provide must be in line with both the content you were taught and the description in the units. As such your advice is required to be quite generic and reflect the Dietary Guidelines and other endorsed guidelines and recommendations. As you can see this can be quite narrow, but clearly it is safe for everyone.
However, for PTs who want to go a little further you can look at courses such as our Accredited Certificate of Nutrition or the Nutrition & Health Coaching course which allows you more scope to work with your clients eating habits and be insurance to do so with confidence.
C. I'm a PT and have completed your Nutrition & Health Coaching course, exactly how much nutrition advice and information can I offer?
ANSWER: The central issue to ensuring your don't cross the line into nutrition expertise is to avoid being:
In your services. These are the realms of those who have spent many years at university learning about pathophysiology, diagnostics, clinical situations, treatment and so on. Insurers will be much dismayed if anyone ventures into these areas without proper qualifications, registration and insurance.
You work collaboratively with your clients, asking them where they feel the issues are in their diet or eating habits, working together to come up with better alternatives, to create strategies to help achieve these new health behaviours (that's coaching speak right there).
We are finding a lot of our PTs are opting for the Nutrition & Health Coaching program as this offers them the opportunity to work as a Recognised Nutrition & Health Coach and a PT and it provides them with a professional pathway beyond fitness when they are seeking to diversify or change direction.
Be clear about the difference between a food coach and a nutritionist
As you can see this makes a lot of sense. Clearly only nutritionists and dietitians are 'nutritionists' and we need to work along side them and know when to refer on, for example when we suspect a person needs a great level of assistance than we are trained for. We must always ensure we work from a platform of what we have been trained to do and not beyond this both for the safety of our client and for our ourselves.
Our program Nutrition & Health Coaching will enable students to work with healthy eating, and healthy movement, you will support clients via your health coaching training to achieve a healthier lifestyle. This course does not allow you to provide diets, you will be working from the fundamentals of healthy eating, something few do and an area by and large overlooked. Healthy movement and eating underpins all areas of health and as in life the small things can often be the hardest to take ownership of.
How long and how much?
You can take up to 18 months to complete but you can complete it faster if you have the time. Price wise it depends a little on the electives you take but likely to be in the vicinity of $2400, though you only pay per module, there is no application fee so you have no risk at all.
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.