Our Approach to Treatment: The Duke Difference

As the only residential-style weight-loss program integrated within a world-class academic medical center, the Duke Diet & Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina is an internationally recognized leader in its approach to weight loss.  We distinguish our program from others through out focus on four key areas of care.

md-and-patient-connection-lgMEDICAL CARE
At the core of the DFC program is sound, expert medical care based on the most current research and scientific evidence on obesity and weight loss.  Your DFC experience includes a comprehensive medical assessment, an individual health plan, and ongoing monitoring of your progress.

Our physicians, psychologists, registered dieticians, exercise physiologists and other staff are highly skilled professionals with particular expertise in the most common weight-related medical conditions: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, disturbed sleep, emotional distress, arthritis, etc.  The extraordinary resources of the Duke University Health System augment our care when/if necessary.

A key strategy in the DFC program is a healthy, satisfying, and sustainable eating plan.  Our registered dieticians work with you -- individually and in group settings -- to design a plan specifically tailored to your needs.   

During your stay, you receive three delicious meals a day, Monday through Friday, plus healthy snacks, and cooking demonstrations.  Our Executive Chef prepares fresh food each day in small batches to ensure great taste and nutrition.  Organic and all-natural meats and produce are used whenever possible.

After you leave, we offer a "Dietician-on-Demand" program if you want additional support from home.

The Duke Diet & Fitness Center's masters' level exercise physiologists are certified through the American College of Sports Medicine.  They, along with our physical therapists and massage therapists, incorporate the latest in exercise and movement science into their classes and individual sessions.  They help you find a fitness plan that suits your abilities, preferences, interests, and lifestyle. You learn to be physically active in ways that are comfortable and appropriate for you so that you can adopt a pleasurable, active -- and realistic -- lifestyle.

Among the most distinguishing features of our program is the support we provide our clients to lose weight and change their lives.  Over the many years of our practice, we understand deeply that the best developed plans and regimens are not always enough to make the difference for an individual.  Our renowned psychologists and behavioral specialists work with you to make these plans real and enduring.  They know how to engage your participation, and help you set realistic goals and achieve them one step at a time -- planning for obstacles, achieving balance, and managing the stress and emotions that frequently arise. 

While you are the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, our team provides individual assessments, check-ins, in-depth classes, group therapy, and, if desired, more intensive individual therapy.

The Duke Diet & Fitness Center recognizes the role of support as you continue your weight loss and lifestyle change program at home.  Many of our clients have found that working with a behavioral specialist or lifestyle coach is an effective tool in helping to establish and maintain health changes at home.  The DFC provides referrals to certified health coaches with years of experience working with DFC clients and who are thoroughly trained in the DFC model of encouragement, accountability, and support.


People begin to see results quickly -- and, more importantly, many maintain their weight loss and healthy behaviors over the long term.  On average, clients lose 5 percent of their initial body weight (often more), and see improvement in physical fitness and other aspects of their health and wellness during the core four-week program. Clients usually experience improvements in diabetes including blood sugar content, blood pressure, and cholesterol within days to weeks along with improvements in other weight-related conditions.

Our clients boost their confidence, increase motivation, and learn skills to make enduring changes in their lives.  A study of DFC participants showed that after one year, 80 percent had maintained and/or continued to lose weight; 85 percent reported significant improvements in their health and quality of life.

LEARN MORE: For more information or to speak to an admissions coordinator, call 1-888-313-7174 or use our online contact form.