Kinesiologists want the B.C. government to give them the same protections as other health providers to stop others from pretending to have their skills and qualifications.

The plea from the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists comes after a CTV News hidden camera investigation revealed that staff credentials were being pumped up at a world-famous fitness club in the Lower Mainland.

"Anyone can technically call themselves a kinesiologist," said Daryl Reynolds, the head of the association.

"We would like to see the title protected in some way."

A kinesiologist is someone who specializes in human movement, and can be consulted by someone starting an exercise program or by an athlete wishing to improve performance. They are held to a higher standard than a personal trainer, Reynolds said.

Right now, a person can be punished for wrongly claiming to be a medical doctor or a physiotherapist, which are among protected health professions in B.C. But kinesiologists are unregulated, and so there's no legal protection for the name.

Former Gold's Gym employee Lewis Hart claimed that Gold's Gym management instructed him to exaggerate his credentials, because those with extra qualifications could sell more products.

When CTV News recorded consultations with two staff members at Gold's Gym, both said they had kinesiology degrees.

When staff members were asked to provide the qualifications, one admitted in an email that she did not have a degree, and the other said he felt no reason to provide it, as he had resigned from the gym for personal reasons.

Gold's Gym owner Victor Newman denied that the company had any policy to fabricate credentials and blamed the individual employees. He said after the investigation that the company would strenuously check credentials.

B.C. Minister of Health Mike de Jong said there are no immediate plans to regulate the field, but he didn't rule it out.

"They're not a regulated profession at the moment," he said. "If this becomes a chronic problem then we may have to look at that."

Reynolds says there are ways to tell a kinesiologist from a personal trainer.

"Look a little further, ask to see their credentials," he said.

If they have a kinesiology degree, that can be a good indication.

A university degree is a requirement to be a member in the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists, though membership in that organization is not mandatory.

Membership in the B.C. Association of Kinesiologists can be checked on its website:

Hart told CTV News he thought that kinesiology should be regulated to prevent customers from becoming confused, or paying more for services.

"Every aspect of health needs to be licensed and protected," he said.

Watch The Investigators' hidden camera sting tonight at 6 p.m. on CTV News.

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