Life Span Institute - Profile

Joseph E. Donnelly, Ed.D.

Joseph Donnelly is a nationally recognized researcher in weight loss and maintenance. Since 2000 he has received $30 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health for his research to help combat obesity in children and adults, including those with disabilities. His current projects involve strategies to fight obesity involving physical activity and the environment, diet, pharmaceuticals and public policy.

Research Interests
  • Energy balance
  • Child nutrition and fitness
  • Obesity and chronic disease risk
  • Effect of exercise on weight loss and maintenance
  • Physical activity, brain function and academic achievement in children
  • Exercise and Alzheimer's disease in the elderly
  • Alternative delivery strategies for prevention and treatment of obesity
  • Resistance training, energy balance and weight management


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Exercise Test Technologist

American Heart Association
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiac Care

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Washburn RA, Honas JJ, Ptomey LT, Mayo MS, Lee J, Sullivan DK, Lambourne K, Willis EA, Donnelly JE. Energy and macronutrient intake in the Midwest Exercise Trial-2 (MET-2). Med Sci Sports Exerc. Jan 2015. PMID: 25574796

Ptomey LT, Sullivan DK, Lee JH, Goetz JR, Gibson C, Donnelly JE. The use of technology for delivering a weight loss program for adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jan 2015. 115(1):112-8. PMID: 25441960

Szabo-Reed AN, Breslin FJ, Lynch AM, Patrician T, Martin LE, Lepping RJ, Powell JN, Yeh H-W, Befort CA, Sullivan D, Gibson C, Washburn R, Donnelly JE, Savage CR. Brain function predictors and outcome of weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Submitted to Contemporary Clinical Trials. Dec 19 2014. 40C:218-231. PMID: 25533729. PMCID: PMC4314339.

Washburn RA, Szabo AN, Lambourne K, Willis EA, Ptomey LT, Honas JJ, Herrmann SD, Donnelly JE. Does the method of weight loss effect long-term changes in weight, body composition or chronic disease risk factors in overweight or obese adults? A systematic review. PLoS ONE. Oct 2014. 9(10): e109849.

Reichard A, Saunders MD, Saunders RR, Donnelly JE, Lauer E, Sullivan DK, Ptomey LA. Comparison of two weight management programs for adults with mobility impairments. Disabil Health J. Aug 15 2014. pii: S1936-6574(14)00101-0. PMID: 25242059

Hansen DM, Herrmann SD, Lambourne K, Lee J, Donnelly JE. Linear/Nonlinear Relations of Activity and Fitness with Children's Academic Achievement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Apr 28 2014. PMID: 24781896. PMCID: PMC4211996.

Willis EA, Herrmann SD, Honas JJ, Lee J, Washburn, RA., Donnelly JE. Non-Exercise Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity in the Midwest Exercise Trial 2. Med Sci Sports Exerc. April 2014. PMID: 24694746. PMCID: PMC4182343.

Donnelly JE, Herrmann SD, Lambourne K, Szabo AN, Honas JJ, Washburn RA. Does increased exercise or physical activity alter ad-libitum daily energy intake or macronutrient composition in healthy adults? A systematic review. PLoS One. Jan 2014. 9(1):e83498. eCollection 2014. PMID: 24454704. PMCID: PMC3893086.

Ptomey LT, Herrmann SD, Lee JH, Sullivan DK, Rondon MF, Donnelly JE. Photo-assisted recall increases estimates of energy and macronutrient intake in adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 113(12) 1704-9. Dec 2013. PMID: 24095784. PMCID: PMC3834035.

Szabo AN, Washburn RA, Sullivan DK, Honas JJ, Mayo MS, Goetz J, Lee J, Donnelly JE. The Midwest Exercise Trial for the Prevention of Weight Regain: MET POWeR. Contemp Clin Trials. Nov 2013. 36(2):470-8. PMID: 24012915. PMCID: PMC3844028.

Donnelly JE, Saunders RR, Saunders M, Washburn RA, Sullivan DK, Gibson CA, Ptomey LT, Goetz JR, Honas JJ, Betts JL, Rondon MR, Smith BK, Mayo MS. Weight management for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities: rationale and design for an 18 month randomized trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 36:116-124. 2013. PMID: 23810939. PMCID: PMC4180227.

Donnelly JE, Greene JL, Gibson CA, Sullivan DK, Hansen DM, Hillman CH, Poggio J, Mayo MS, Smith BK, Lambourne K, Herrmann SD, Scudder M, Betts JL, Honas JJ, Washburn RA. Physical activity and academic achievement across the curriculum (A+PAAC): rationale and design of a 3-year, cluster randomized trial. BMC Public Health, Apr 8, 13:307. 2013. PMID: 23565969. PMCID: PMC3626787.

Donnelly JE, Honas JJ, Smith BK, Mayo MS, Gibson C, Sullivan DK, Lee J, Herrmann, S, Lambourne K, Washburn RA. Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: Midwest Exercise Trial-2. Obesity, 21(3):E219-28. 2013. PMID: 23592678. PMCID: PMC3630467.

Donnelly JE, Goetz J, Gibson C, Sullivan DK, Lee R, Smith BK, Lambourne K, Mayo MS, Hunt S, Lee, JH, Honas JJ, Washburn RA. Equivalent weight loss for weight management programs delivered by phone and clinic. Obesity, October 2013. 21(10):1951-9. PMID: 23408579.

Melanson EL, Keadle SK, Donnelly JE, Braun B, King NA. Resistance to Exercise-Induced Weight Loss: Compensatory Behavioral Adaptations. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 45(8) 1600-9. 2013 PMID: 23470300. PMCID: PMC3696411.

Professor of Medicine
Director, Center for Physical Activity and Weight Management
University of Kansas Medical Center

Ed.D.., West Virginia University, Exercise Physiology, 1977

M.S., Eastern Illinois University, Exercise Physiology, 1972

B.S., Davis and Elkins College, Physical Education, 1971


Cardiovascular Research Institute
University of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Mailstop 1007

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