For the Record
The American College of Sports Medicine is committed to sharing information that clearly articulates its position on a variety of issues being discussed in traditional and social media. The intent of the following statements is to provide helpful and clarifying detail and/or correct misinformation that may be shared about such topics.
Global Energy Balance Network
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has no affiliation with the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN). ACSM does not financially support the organization or its research, influence its work or promote its outcomes.
ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise medicine organization in the world, with more than 50,000 members and certified professionals. Many of those members belong to multiple associations and industry organizations. For example, some members of ACSM have chosen to also participate in the GEBN. Like other nonprofit organizations, ACSM respects a member’s autonomy in pursuing and being actively involved in the professional organizations of their choosing. This, however, does not necessarily constitute ACSM’s support or agreement with its members’ activities or outcomes as it pertains to their involvement with other organizations.
The Basic Science of Energy Balance
The American College of Sports Medicine has a long-held position stand on the topic of energy balance and weight management, first published by the college in 2001 and updated in 2009.
For more than 60 years, ACSM has valued and safeguarded the importance of independent research. Our extensive position stand on the topic of energy balance is based on the scientific evidence and came to the following conclusion: for successful long-term weight loss, both physical activity and dietary change are important. There are also additional overall health gains from physical activity apart from weight loss.
ACSM respects all proponents of healthy weight loss and management. Constructive dialogue and collaboration between healthy diet and physical activity advocates is extremely beneficial, and ACSM will always be a part of that important discussion. To help facilitate such dialogue, ACSM will host the World Congress on The Basic Science of Energy Balance: A Global Perspective on the Combined Importance of Diet and Physical Activity in May 2016.
Corporate Sponsorships of the Exercise is Medicine Program
ACSM has partnered with a number of cross-industry organizations to help launch the Exercise Is Medicine program (EIM). Sponsoring organizations represent the fitness, health care, medical equipment, personal hygiene and food and beverage industries. All of these relationships are transparent and non-product-based, and allow total independence in the expansion of physical activity and health worldwide. We encourage you to visit the EIM website and learn more about this great program that is making a real difference in people’s lives. For more about ACSM’s Approach to Partnerships, go here.
Licensure for Select Exercise Professionals
The American College of Sports Medicine has never promoted or advocated for the licensure of all exercise professionals. ACSM supports and advocates licensure only for those exercise professionals working with patients and clients with medical conditions that require minimal to advanced clinical support and who have earned at least a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a related, accredited certification. ACSM takes this position to ensure that exercise professionals are appropriately qualified when working with such patients.
ACSM supports non-degreed personal trainers working in nonclinical/community settings with apparently healthy clients, but does not support the need for them to be licensed.
ACSM also provides resources that help employers of fitness centers, wellness centers, worksite health promotion programs and hospitals determine their own hiring criteria for the various exercise professional positions that they have available.
For more information about ACSM's position on licensure, view our full position statement here.
Licensure, ACSM and the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals® (CREPS)
The American College of Sports Medicine is one of seven certifying organizations that make up the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals®(CREPS). The CREPS coalition began with a focus on a registry of exercise professionals and providing continuing education but, over time, expanded to licensure and occupational regulation- a positon that was not consistent with that of ACSM.
Although a member of CREPS, ACSM has never supported licensure for all exercise professionals. After thoughtful discussion at its board meeting on December 12, 2015, the other members of CREPS agreed with ACSM’s position and voted to drop its support and advocacy for licensure at all levels.
ACSM’s (and now CREPS’) position to not support licensure for all exercise professionals is based on growing scientific evidence about the safety of exercise for healthy populations, resulting rising costs, decreases in practitioners, disruption of businesses and overall lack of compelling rationale.