A Physical Activity Toolkit for RDNs: Exercise is Medicine®

Cover Photo for Physical Activity Toolkit for RDNsThe goal of this toolkit is to provide RDNs with a set of resources for encouraging physical activity (PA) as an effective strategy for the prevention, treatment and management of more than 40 of the most common chronic health conditions in adults. Designed to help RDNs incorporate PA into weight management plans for people of all ages, the approach is flexible and facilitates utilization by RDNs working in diverse settings. Evaluating the PA habits and restrictions of patients/clients during a comprehensive nutrition assessment is indicated by the Revised 2017 Standards of Practice in Nutrition Care and Standards of Professional Performance for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and is consistent with the Nutrition Care Process (NCP).

This Physical Activity Toolkit for RDNs contains extensive information and resources such as:

  • Key recommendations of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
  • Key recommendations and resources of Exercise is Medicine® (EIM)
  • Definitions for PA, PA guidance, exercise, and exercise prescription
  • Recommendations for RDNs to address PA with their patients/clients in accordance with The Academy's NCP
  • Case studies demonstrating how to incorporate PA guidance into each step of the NCP for patients/clients with various health conditions or concerns
  • Scenario examples of nutrition interventions to assist the RDN in distinguishing PA guidance from exercise prescription
  • Downloadable professional guidance tools and handouts for patients/clients
  • Links to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, ACSM Exercise is Medicine® and additional resources

Brought to you by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine with a special thank you to the toolkit development team and authors Laura Kruskall, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD, FACSM, FAND; Melinda M. Manore, PhD, RDN, CSSD, FACSM; Julie Schwartz, MS, RDN, CSOWM, CSSD, LD, ACSM-EP, NBC-HWC; and Robyn Stuhr, MA, CASM-CEP, RCE. Planned with the Cardiovascular Health and Well-being (CV-Well), Sports and Human Performance Nutrition (SHPN), and Weight Management (WM) dietetic practice groups.

Academy Resources

Cardiovascular Health and Well-being DPG
The Cardiovascular Health and Well-being dietetic practice group equips members to be the nutrition experts in promoting cardiovascular health (prevention and treatment), well-being, and physical activity.CV-Well will provide in-depth content in cardiovascular nutrition and well-being so members can optimize their work in diverse health arenas such as clinical settings, corporate well-being, community nutrition, private practice, research, education and government.

Sports and Human Performance Nutrition DPG
The Sports & Human Performance Nutrition DPG is a group of nutrition practitioners working with athletes and people at all levels of human performance to optimize holistic health for a lifetime. The DPG leverages the integration of nutrition, exercise science, and technology to set industry standards, provide continuing education, and prepare the next generation of cutting-edge professionals. SHPN will deliver content tailored for human performance in sports as well as military, tactical and performing arts, and those who are first responders.

Weight Management DPG
The Weight Management dietetic practice group focuses exclusively on the science and application of weight management prevention and treatment. (Subunits: Bariatrics, Pediatric Weight Management, Weight and Wellness Coaching)

Nutrition Care Process (NCP)
The Nutrition Care Process is a systematic method to providing high-quality nutrition care. It was published as part of the Nutrition Care Model. Use of the NCP does not mean that all clients get the same care; the process provides a framework for the RDN to customize care, taking into account the client's needs and values and using the best evidence available to make decisions. Other disciplines in healthcare, including nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists have adopted care processes specific to their discipline.

Scope of Practice
Scope of practice in nutrition and dietetics encompasses the range of roles, activities and regulations within which nutrition and dietetics practitioners perform. For credentialed practitioners, scope of practice is typically established within the practice act and interpreted and controlled by the agency or board that regulates the practice of the profession in a given state. In today's dynamic, diverse health care environment, demand is increasing for quality food and nutrition services that are delivered in varied settings by RDNs and NDTRs

Resources External to the Academy

American Colleges of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
With more than 50,000 members and certified professionals from 90 countries around the globe, ACSM represents 70 occupations within the sports medicine field. From academicians to students and from personal trainers to physicians, ACSM's association of sports medicine, exercise science, and health and fitness professionals is dedicated to helping people worldwide live longer, healthier lives.

Exercise is Medicine®: A Global Health Initiative
The vision of Exercise is Medicine® (EIM), a global health initiative managed by ACSM, is to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere and of all abilities. EIM encourages physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when designing treatment plans and to refer patients to evidence-based exercise programs and qualified exercise professionals. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health and is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Physical activity is key to improving the health of the nation. Based on the latest science, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is a flagship resource for health professionals and policymakers that provides recommendations on how everyone can improve their health through regular physical activity. Learn ways to help people understand the benefits of physical activity and how to make it a part of their regular routine.