Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, has conducted extensive research into physical activity and sedentary time, with a central focus on older adults and people with chronic conditions, who often face substantial barriers to engaging in physical activity. Dr. Rosenberg has a particular interest in helping to build an evidence base for the health effects of sedentary time, given that the vast majority of people’s waking hours are spent sitting, yet we are only starting to understand how this impacts health.
Dr. Rosenberg currently leads the Healthy Aging Resources to Thrive (HART) Trial. HART is testing the effects of sitting reduction on cardiovascular and metabolic health outcomes through a large randomized controlled trial. Dr. Rosenberg also leads the accelerometer sub-study of the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) cohort study where she is examining how 24-hour activity cycle behaviors (sedentary time, physical activity, sleep) are associated with cognition and physical function in older adults.
A key step in better understanding sedentary behaviors is having validated measures. Dr. Rosenberg validated the widely used Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire, which is a self-reported measure of sedentary time (see below to learn more). She has also contributed to studies on sedentary behavior measurement with accelerometers, including machine learning approaches.
As part of her epidemiologic research, Dr. Rosenberg investigates how aspects of the built environment — such as parks, open space, and sidewalks — encourage better health, particularly as we age. Further, she is interested in the ways social determinants of health in early life, including the neighborhood environment, impact cognitive and physical aging and is exploring this in the ACT cohort.
In her intervention research, Dr. Rosenberg employs mobile health approaches to promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary time, including in a recent micro-randomized trial for physical activity after bariatric surgery. She is currently working with colleagues on piloting a mobile health application for mindfulness and acceptance to support healthy eating and physical activity.
Dr. Rosenberg serves on a subcommittee of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition to inform the development of the Physical Activity Guidelines Midcourse Report on older adults. She is also past co-chair of the Physical Activity Special Interest Group at the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Additionally, she is an associate professor in the Health Systems Science Department of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, affiliate associate professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
The following tools are available for free download and use.
Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire: This is a self-reported measure of sedentary time, taking into account sedentary behaviors on weekdays and weekends. It has been used widely in research studies across the globe to describe sedentary behavior and track changes in sedentary time.
Walking Route Audit Tool for Seniors (WRATS): WRATS is an audit tool for identifying the best walking routes for older adults. The tool includes 59 items relating to functionality, safety, aesthetics, and destinations, among other domains. Most domains are measured using a 3-point scale. The tool can be used by the general public as well as by researchers.
Physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, lifestyle interventions, technology applications, built environment
Changes to health behaviors, including sedentary behavior, physical activity, and nutrition; role of built environment; promotion of physical function and mobility; fall prevention; cognitive function; Alzheimer's disease prevention
Obesity prevention and control; physical activity and nutrition promotion; role of sedentary behaviors; role of built environment; acceptance and mindfulness interventions for weight management; mobile health interventions
Prevention of further disease, declines in function, and disability; self-management; fall prevention
Health behavior change, fall prevention, Alzheimer’s disease prevention
Mobile health interventions for weight, physical activity, diet, and sedentary time; accelerometers (e.g., Fitbit, ActiGraph, activPAL) for measurement and intervention
Rosenberg D, Lin E, Peterson D, Ludman E, Von Korff M, Katon W. Integrated medical care management and behavioral risk factor reduction for multicondition patients: behavioral outcomes of the TEAMcare trial. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014 Mar-Apr;36(2):129-34. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.10.017. Epub 2013 Nov 4. PubMed
Kerr J, Marshall SJ, Patterson RE, Marinac CR, Natarajan L, Rosenberg DE, Wasilenko K, Crist K. Objectively measured physical activity is related to cognitive function in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Nov;61(11):1927-31. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12524. PubMed
Rosenberg DE, Bombardier CH, Artherholt S, Jensen MP, Motl RW. Self-reported depression and physical activity in adults with mobility impairments. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Apr;94(4):731-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.11.014. Epub 2012 Nov 16. PubMed
Bombardier CH, Ehde DM, Gibbons LE, Wadhwani R, Sullivan MD, Rosenberg DE, Kraft GH. Telephone-based physical activity counseling for major depression in people with multiple sclerosis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2013; 81(1):89-99. PubMed
Rosenberg DE, Turner AP, Littman AJ, Williams RM, Norvell DC, Hakimi KM, Czerniecki J. Body mass index patterns following dysvascular lower extremity amputation. Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Jul;35(15):1269-75. doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.726690. Epub 2012 Oct 25. PubMed
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Dr. Dori Rosenberg discusses her work on a new Cochrane review looking at ways to help older adults be less sedentary.
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Take these tips from researchers on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Physical Activity Special Interest Group.