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Amanda Kirpitch Becomes Joslin’s First Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Amanda Kirpitch, MA, RD/LDN, CSSD, CDE Nutrition and Diabetes Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, recently became Joslin’s first Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. You might be wondering, what is a specialist in sports dietetics? And how can a specialist in sports dietetics help someone with diabetes?

Well, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics possesses the training and skills needed to properly assess, educate and counsel athletes and active individuals, including people with diabetes, about nutrition and exercise. They undergo extensive training to pass a nationally administered exam and also complete 1500 practice hours in the area of sports nutrition

With this certification Kirpitch can more effectively design, implement and oversee safe and effective nutrition strategies for exercise performance.

“For patients who are active in their daily life, I want to make sure they have the right preparation in terms of nutrients so they can perform at their optimal levels,"explained Kirpitch. "People with diabetes shouldn’t feel  that there diabetes is inhibiting their ability to exercise. Certainly nutrition is going to be a huge component of that because nutrition plays into glycemic control, but it also plays into how much energy someone may have.”

Kirpitch also works with more competitive athletes who collaborate with her to manage their diabetes while pursuing their athletic achievements. With athletes, Kirpitch develops a meal plan that is optimal for their training so that they do not become exhausted, experience low blood glucose or compromise their performance. 

Aside from teaming up with patients who are already active in their daily lives, Kirpitch wants to use this certification to work more closely with more diabetes patients who are sometimes apprehensive about including physical activity into their day-to-day routine. Kirpitch is eager to help these patients because exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for people with diabetes.

“I hope to help patients who may want to be more active, [but] are struggling to do that with their diabetes care,” said Kirpitch. “I want to be able to attract patients who may not have thought that they needed a nutritionist because they were doing pretty well on a day-to-day [basis], but then they get into something that is more athletic or beyond their typical activities and [they may experience some difficulties].”

“I think there are people who have more anxiety around activity because they are worried about hypoglycemia, and we can help them find a way to be active without experiencing hypoglycemia,” explained Kirpitch. “Our goal is to identify the areas where they are struggling in both their fueling and activity and help them adjust their medications.”

Another area where sports nutrition may be valuable is in helping patients prevent or recover from sports-related injuries. With these patients Kirpitch ensures that they are receiving the proper nutrition, which is essential in helping patients recover and return to their activities in the safest and quickest way possible.
 
Going forward, Kirpitch plans to use this certification to conduct research on how athletes and people with diabetes can perform to the best of their ability while safely managing their diet and diabetes.

“I’d love to look into more research about how different nutrients affect metabolism and how different nutrients play into the ability to be active and perform at optimal levels,” said Kirpitch. “I’m interested in the metabolic components of the different nutrients, and what role they are playing in our bodies and how that is different with patients with diabetes compared to everyday athletes.”

Kirpitch ultimately hopes to use her new certification, to offer a new area of expertise to the nutrition care provided at Joslin.

“[The Nutrition staff at Joslin] is hoping that we are a resource for patients who are looking for more information about managing exercise and nutrition needs with their diabetes, and that we have the appropriate resources to support patients in all levels of care,” said Kirpitch.

Page last updated: September 20, 2014