Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Dori Rosenberg

“By listening to patients and community members, we can discover ways to more practically and meaningfully bring innovative prevention and treatment programs into health care systems, communities, and homes. My research goal is to help people of all ages and abilities develop healthy, lifelong active habits.”

Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Health Systems Science, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
Affiliate Associate Professor, Health Systems and Population Health, University of Washington School of Public Health

Biography

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’s current studies include:

  • The Healthy Aging Resources to Thrive (HART) Trial. HART is testing the effects of sitting reduction on cardiometabolic health outcomes through a large randomized controlled trial in older adults.
  • The De Pie y a Movernos Study. Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues are co-designing a sedentary behavior reduction and physical activity promotion intervention for the older Latino/Hispanic community in San Diego.
  • The accelerometer sub-study of the Adult Changes in Thought cohort study (ACT Study). Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Sue McCurry at the University of Washington are collecting device-based measures of sitting patterns, physical activity, and sleep as well as circadian rhythms from the ACT cohort. This data will be used to examine how behaviors of the 24-hour activity cycle (sedentary time, physical activity, sleep) are associated with cognition and physical function in older adults.

Dr. Rosenberg has also helped develop and test self-reported measures of sedentary behavior, recognizing that a key step in better understanding these behaviors is having valid self-reported tools available. Dr. Rosenberg helped to validate the widely used Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire, which is a self-reported measure of sedentary time (see below to learn more). 

As part of her epidemiologic research, Dr. Rosenberg has interests in investigating ways 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 is also interested in ways to remotely deliver interventions for promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary time. She helped to conduct a micro-randomized trial of a physical activity intervention after bariatric surgery that used mobile tools and text messages. She currently collaborates on the testing and piloting of a mobile health application for mindfulness and acceptance to support healthy eating and physical activity.

Dr. Rosenberg served 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 in 2022. 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 Systems and Population Health at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Measurement tools

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.

Research interests and experience

  • Behavior Change

    Physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, lifestyle interventions, technology applications, built environment

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    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

    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

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Prevention of further disease, declines in function, and disability; self-management; fall prevention

  • Preventive Medicine

    Health behavior change, fall prevention, Alzheimer’s disease prevention

  • Mobile Health

    Mobile health interventions for weight, physical activity, diet, and sedentary time; accelerometers (e.g., Fitbit, ActiGraph, activPAL) for measurement and intervention

Recent publications

Ding D, Sallis JF, Kerr J, Lee S, Rosenberg DE. Neighborhood environment and physical activity among youth: a review. Am J Prev Med. 2011 Oct;41(4):442-55. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.06.036. PubMed

Kerr J, Carlson JA, Sallis JF, Rosenberg DE, Leak CR, Saelens BE, Chapman JE, Frank LD, Cain KL, Conway TL, King AC. Assessing health-related resources in senior living residences. J Aging Studies. 2011;25:206-14.

Rosenberg DE, Bombardier CH, Hoffman JM, Belza BB. Physical activity among persons aging with mobility disabilities: shaping a research agenda. J Aging Res. 2011;2011:708510. Epub 2011 Jun 26. PubMed

Ramirez ER, Norman GJ, Rosenberg DE, Kerr J, Saelens BE, Durant N, Sallis JF. Adolescent screen time and rules to limit screen time in the home. J Adolesc Health. 2011 Apr;48(4):379-85. Epub 2010 Oct 15. PubMed

Greenwood-Hickman MA, Zhou J, Cook A, Mettert KD, Green B, McClure J, Arterburn D, Florez-Acevedo S, Rosenberg DE. Exploring differences in older adult accelerometer-measured sedentary behavior and resting blood pressure before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2022 Apr 27;8:23337214221096007. doi: 10.1177/23337214221096007. eCollection 2022. PubMed

 

M2H study

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Can where you move impact future weight gain?

A new study finds that moving from low- to high-density neighborhoods might be related to reductions in weight gain.

Mentoring at KPWHRI

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2021 mentorship awards go to Elena ‘Noon’ Kuo and Dori Rosenberg

Outstanding mentorship — emphasizing equity and inclusion — was recognized.

Research

Senior woman getting up out of chair

Helping older adults improve health by sitting less

Dr. Dori Rosenberg discusses her work on a new Cochrane review looking at ways to help older adults be less sedentary.

Research

urban setting apartments and skyscrapers obesity and the built environment

Built environment plays little role in weight gain

New research suggests fast food and other aspects of built environments don’t affect weight, contrary to earlier findings.

Live Healthy

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COVID-safe exercise ideas for older adults this winter

Take these tips from researchers on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Physical Activity Special Interest Group.