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Florida health coach files lawsuit to challenge dietary advice censorship

Florida health coach files lawsuit

A privately certified health coach based in Fort Walton Beach is filing a lawsuit to protect her First Amendment rights. She said all started with a knock on her door about the nutritional advice she is giving her clients.

WATCH LIVE | Florida Health Coach Files Lawsuit Challenging Censorship of Dietary Advice

Heather Kokesch Del Castillo is the founder of Constitution Nutrition. She provides personalized diet, nutrition and fitness advice to customers, who she said, feel overwhelmed by the vast amout of available information on the subject. She claims the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) fined her $750 and ordered her to stop providing her services until she gets a license.

Failure to get a license could result in up to a year in jail, $1,000 in fines per violation and up to $5,000 for each day the violation occurs, she explained in a news release to Channel 3 News. In Tuesday's news conference at the Winston E. Arnow Federal Building, Del Castillo explained that obtaining that license would be "incredibly burdensome", including going to get a second degree and paying multiple fees.

Now, she's challenging Florida's law that only licensed dietitians/nutritionists can give one-on-one dietary advice. The Institute for Justice (IJ) is representing her in this case.

We reached out to FDOH, who issued the following statement.

The licensure requirements for registered dieticians and nutritionists are established in section 468.509 Florida Statutes and 64B8-42.002, Florida Administrative Code. The department, as a regulatory agency, carries out the law through the Dietetic and Nutrition Practice Council, which is part of the Board of Medicine.

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