General Health Screening
At the initial consultation, the nutrition practitioner may inquire about a general health screening when working with individuals initiating an exercise regimen; however, this depends upon the individual’s overall health and medical history. This component is typically completed by a primary care physician. The weight loss expert does not personally clear an individual for exercise, though they should ensure anyone initiating an exercise program has received clearance. If this is not the case, the nutrition professional can refer them to appropriate medical professionals.
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Health screenings include a medical history and physical examination. Most individuals can benefit from increased physical activity, but participation should not increase risk of injury or disease. Health screenings can identify individuals who are at increased risk for disease due to predisposing factors, those who are already experiencing a disease state, or those with other special needs and contraindications.
If an individual is found to have a medical concern, this may not necessarily prohibit them from engaging in exercise, but rather may warrant their activity to be medically supervised, or at least modified. At the very least, individuals should complete the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). If there is a positive response on the PAR-Q, individuals should be referred to their medical provider. This practice ensures that potential risks are identified and handled appropriately, supporting safe participation in exercise and activity.
Health screenings are relevant to the practitioner who is working with an individual who is starting an exercise regimen or is returning to exercise after taking considerable time off. In these instances, practitioners should know appropriate resources and recommend medical clearance.
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