Despite 29,365 health and fitness clubs nationwide, two new FDA-approved diet pills and numerous fad diets that sell quick-fix solutions, the number of overweight and obese Americans has continued to climb to more than 67 percent, according to data from IBISWorld and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

In an effort to provide a better solution to a problem that impacts everything from insurance costs to preventable disease, American Council on Exercise (ACE) has launched the ACE Health Coach certification.

"Fad diets, over-the-counter medication and gym memberships with limited guidance aren't effective solutions for people who have lived their entire lives overweight or obese," said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant. "Those people don't just need an exercise program or a diet plan. They need an expert who can guide and empower them. They need someone who can connect with them in a way that makes them not only want to change, but believe they have the ability to make meaningful and lasting changes."

Intended for fitness, wellness, health care, human resources and allied health professionals who want to make a resounding difference in the way people live, the NCCA-accredited certification emphasizes fitness, nutrition and the science behind true behavior modification.

ACE Health Coach is designed to address a change in the way people view overall health.

"The ACE Health Coach certification reflects what we believe to be the true measure of health and well-being," Bryant said. "Living your most fit life doesn't come from just changing the way you eat or altering your schedule to include a few weekly workouts. To truly be fit physically as well as in mind and spirit means achieving balance, strength, agility, coordination and endurance in everything you do. Those Tools for Life, as ACE calls them, extend far beyond weight loss."

Information about the ACE Health Coach exam will be available beginning today on The newly published "ACE Health Coach Manual: The Ultimate Guide to Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Change" features content by fitness and industry leaders including award-winning personal trainer Jonathan Ross, behavioral psychologist Dr. Michael Mantell and registered dietitian Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH.

"The ACE Health Coach credential serves as a critical missing link between fitness, medical, allied health and wellness professionals," Bryant said. "It will provide the knowledge and skills needed to inspire, motivate and encourage individuals to make healthy living an integral part of their lifestyles."

About ACE

Since 1985, American Council on Exercise (ACE) has evolved from a small nonprofit dedicated to educating people about proper fitness to a 50,000-strong network of certified Personal Trainers, Group Fitness Instructors (GFI), Health Coaches and Advanced Health & Fitness Specialists (AHFS). As the largest NCCA-accredited nonprofit fitness certification organization in the world, ACE provides quality continuing education to professionals and conducts independent science-based research to protect all Americans from unsafe and ineffective products. Our goal is to inspire people to live their most fit lives through free fitness resources including workouts, nutrition information and expert advice. For more information, call (800) 825-3636 or visit AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of the American Council on Exercise.