The Duke Diet & Fitness Center (DFC) is committed to evidence-based, personalized medicine. We examine data from our clinical program to determine the effectiveness of our intervention and to identify new research directions in the field of obesity.
Our research covers a range of topics in obesity including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, pain and sleep, quality of life, sexual health, physical activity and the effectiveness of our intervention. We use this research to better understand the needs of our patients and improve our ability to help them.
Here is a sampling of our research that has been presented at scientific meetings in recent years:
Exercise and Weight-Related Quality of Life: We found that higher levels of physical activity were associated with better quality of life; particularly in terms of completing day-to-day activities (e.g. tying shoes, getting dressed, mobility etc). Most interestingly, the average amount of activity reported was only 60 minutes per week -- suggesting that every little bit can help you to have a better life even if you are severely overweight.
Chronic Pain and Sleep: Our research showed people with chronic pain tend to be heavier, have greater likelihood of sleep apnea, are more likely to report memory difficulties, are more likely to have depression and anxiety, are more likely to binge eat and have difficulties accomplishing activities of daily living. Chronic pain patients also achieve less weight loss and do not sleep as well. These findings led to the development of comprehensive pain and sleep management programs for our patients.
Effectiveness of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center program: Data presented at the Obesity Society Annual Meeting showed that one year after participating in the program respondents reported medically significant (10.1 percent) average weight loss. Furthermore, patients reported substantial quality-of-life improvements such as: the ability to bend improved for 87 percent, mobility improved for 86 percent, self-consciousness about weight decreased for 68 percent, 80 percent reduced clothing size, 85 percent reported improved quality of life, 81 percent had improved confidence, 81 percent noted improved stamina, and 81 percent had increased activity level. Also, more than 80 percent reported improved blood sugar and blood pressure control.
Our DFC research program provides a strong basis from which to develop new and better ways to help people who struggle with their weight to become healthier and improve the quality of their lives.
Martin Binks, Ph.D., Duke Diet and Fitness Center
Dr. Martin Binks is Director of Behavioral Health, Research Director and Director of New Business and Strategic Alliances at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center (DFC). He is also is an Assistant Professor, in the Division of Medical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center. In addition, he is proprietor and CEO of Binks Behavioral Health PLLC. Dr. Binks is a licensed psychologist who specializes in obesity treatment, research and behavioral medicine.
Dr. Binks received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fairleigh Dickenson University (FDU) where he received training in clinical and health psychology and co-developed an obesity treatment research program. He also received training at the Bronx VA Medical Center and has worked in the areas of neuropsychology, substance abuse treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder and spinal cord injury.
Dr Binks completed his predoctoral internship in clinical psychology and behavioral medicine, at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). He remained at MUSC both as a postdoctoral fellow and later as a faculty member at the MUSC Weight Management Center.
Dr. Binks is dedicated to direct patient care, program development, research and education. He contributes to healthcare provider education through his work with students and trainees at Duke and nationally by lecturing in the areas of obesity management and behavioral medicine. He has authored multiple research publications in the field of obesity and related disorders and is co-author of the book "The Duke Diet." and has overseen development of the related web site DukeDiet.com. Dr Binks is currently active in several leadership positions at the national scientific organization - The Obesity Society.
Dr. Binks research interests include obesity treatment outcomes, maintenance of weight lost, weight-related quality of life, sexual quality of life, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), pain and sleep management in obesity, development of brief treatment approaches for primary care settings and the use of internet technology in the delivery of healthcare. Dr Binks serves as a reviewer on several scientific journals and is a member of the editorial board for the journal Obesity Insights. Elisabetta Politi, R.D., Duke Diet and Fitness Center
Elisabetta Politi, R.D., M.P.H., C.D.E., is nutrition director at the Duke University Diet & Fitness Center. She has over 16 years experience as a registered dietitian.
Originally from Northern Italy, Elisabetta moved to the United States in 1989. Her professional career has been dedicated to the prevention of chronic diseases through diet and weight management. Previous appointments included nutritionist/educator at Structure House in Durham, NC and consulting dietitian for long-term care facilities.
Elisabetta enjoys teaching nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations. She is also a certified diabetes educator, and works closely with diabetic patients.
Elisabetta Politi holds a B. S. in Food Science and Technology from the University of Milan, and a Master in Public Health Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently the past president for the Durham Chapel Hill Dietetic Association.
Elisabetta gives several invited lectures and presentations. She has been interviewed and/or quoted by the "Today" show", "The NBC Nightly News" , "The Discovery Health Channel" and several local television stations. Gerald K. Endress, M.S., R.C.E.P., Duke Diet and Fitness Center
Gerald Endress has been at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center since 2002, and was appointed Fitness Manager in 2003. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a Master's degree in Exercise Physiology.
Originally from Arkansas, Gerald was a chemical engineer in Virginia before changing careers. Previous appointments have included the Mind Body Medical Institute's Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, VA and personal trainer at the Norfolk YMCA. At Bon Secours he was trained in Mind/Body techniques for stress reduction and wellness.
Gerald enjoys teaching our Making Peace with Exercise, return client problem solving, and various fitness classes. He is also registered as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) by the American College of Sports Medicine and is an ACSM/NCPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer. Adele Hite, M.A.T., Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic
Adele Hite is an educator working in the field of lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition. She currently works as patient educator at Duke University Hospital's Lifestyle Medicine Clinic in Durham, N.C., with Dr. Eric Westman, where she teaches patients how to make successful, sustainable changes in lifestyle, diet, and health.
Hite is a certified yoga and fitness instructor, specializing in working with deconditioned and elderly populations. Hite is also a member of the scientific advisory board for the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.