Weight Loss Management and Diet Counseling Services

Law, rules and regulations, not Alerts, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Alert may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Alert.

Chiropractors licensed in New York State may provide nutritional advice within their chiropractic scope of practice as part of an overall treatment plan for a chiropractic patient. Under Education Law §6551(1), chiropractors licensed in New York State may detect and correct by manual or mechanical means structural imbalance, distortion, or subluxations in the human body for the purpose of removing nerve interference and the effects thereof, where such interference is the result of or related to distortion, misalignment or subluxation of or in the vertebral column.

Chiropractic and nutrition/dietetics are two distinct and separate professions whose respective licensure is authorized in Title VIII of the New York State Education Law. Education Law §6551(3) states that chiropractors may provide nutritional services and products as part of the practice of chiropractic: “[n]othing herein shall be construed to prohibit a licensed chiropractor who has successfully completed a registered doctoral program in chiropractic, which contains courses of study in nutrition satisfactory to the department, from using nutritional counseling, including the dispensing of food concentrates, food extracts, vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements approved by the board as being appropriate to, and as a part of, his or her practice of chiropractic.”

Therefore, chiropractors licensed in New York State, who meet the educational requirements in Education Law §6551(3), may only make determinations as to the necessity of nutritional services and products for a chiropractic patient within the lawful scope of practice as defined in Education Law §6551(1). Additionally, unless a chiropractor also holds licensure in nutrition/dietetics, he or she may only provide nutritional advice and counseling in conjunction with his or her chiropractic practice and related to a treatment plan for spinal management and care.

Thus, in New York State, when a chiropractor provides weight loss management and diet counseling services, independent of chiropractic care, even to his or her existing patients, he or she is not practicing within the chiropractic scope of practice.

In addition, if a chiropractor provides nutritional services exclusively, without also addressing the vertebral column in any way, he or she is practicing outside of the chiropractic scope of practice. In both instances, the chiropractor may be subject to a potential charge of unprofessional conduct for practicing outside the chiropractic scope of practice [see Regent Rules 29.1 (b) (9)].

Weight loss management and diet counseling services must conform to the definition of the chiropractic scope of practice as defined in Education Law §§6551(1) through (3). The laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the practice of chiropractors can be found at www.op.nysed.gov/prof/chiro/chirolaw.htm.

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The following statutes, rules and regulations are applicable:

Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(9) - "practicing beyond the lawful scope"

Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(12) - "advertising not in the public interest"

Last Updated: January 28, 2019