Who gets to give dietary advice? Health coach fights law
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawsuit in Florida highlights the confusion around dietitians and health coaches, and how their qualifications differ.
A federal court is expected to rule on a lawsuit by Heather Del Castillo. When she lived in California, she offered tips on natural eating as a health coach. But in Florida, the title didn’t qualify her to give nutrition advice.
She says her free speech rights were violated.
Health coaches like Del Castillo can get certificates from a variety of programs, but the title doesn’t have a consistent meaning and anyone can use it. Registered dietitians complete months of supervised practice, pass a national exam and take continuing education courses.
State laws vary. A few have no rules, while others require licenses only if people want to use titles such as “dietitian” or “nutritionist.”