A Moment with Duke’s Dori Steinberg: On Nutrition Beyond Calories and Health at Every Size

“[Question] What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?
[Steinberg] Our team is developing a behavioral intervention focused on improving intuitive eating and diet quality using digital health tools (apps, video coaching, APIs) to improve blood pressure. Most notably, we were purposeful in not focusing on calories or changing one’s weight in this project. I am excited to offer people something that can improve health independent of changing body size or weight. Reducing weight stigma is something I aim to work on more in future projects.

[Question] Who’s doing something that you admire in healthcare today, and why is it so cool?
[Steinberg] Dr. Louise Metz is a physician and founder of the primary care practice, Mosaic Comprehensive Care, in Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Metz created a practice that provides compassionate and non-judgmental care and adopts a “health at every size” approach. This counters the pervasive weight-normative approach to healthcare, which emphasizes weight as being central in defining health. This practice is unique in that they do not weigh patients at every visit and, instead, they focus on a weight-inclusive approach, which emphasizes the complex determinants of health and well-being. Adopting this approach is truly revolutionary and needed to help reduce weight stigma, which is so pervasive in healthcare.

[Question] What’s the biggest barrier to getting things done in your line of work?
[Steinberg] The slowness of research often makes it hard for researchers to stay on pace with industry. We may study a technology that becomes outdated when we are just starting to analyze results. Also, a lot of my work relies on automated software and, like anything, software has limitations – especially when developing personalized behavioral interventions.”

Full interview, Holzwarth A. Pattern Health 2020.9.15