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 $10 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 more than 15,000 area children in strategies to fight obesity involving physical activity and the environment, diet, pharmaceuticals and public policy.

Research Interests
  • Child nutrition and fitness
  • Effect of exercise on weight loss maintenance and risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Physical activity across the curriculum
  • Prevention and treatment of obesity
  • Resistance training, energy balance and weight management
  • Weight loss and maintenance for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities


American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Exercise Test Technologist

American Heart Association
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiac Care

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Burns J.M., Mayo M.S., Anderson H.S., Smith H.J., Donnelly J.E. Cardiorespiratory fitness in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, 22:39-46, 2008.

Davis A.M., Boles R., James R.L., Sullivan, D.K., Donnelly J.E., Swirczynski D..L, Goetz J. Health behaviors and weight status among urban and rural children. Rural and Remote Health, 8(2):810, 2008.

Donnelly J.E., Sullivan D.K., Smith BK, Jacobsen DJ,, Washburn RA, Johnson, S.L, Hill. J.O., Mayo. M.S., Spaeth. K.R., Gibson. C. Alteration of dietary fat intake to prevent weight gain: Jayhawk Observed Eating Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring), 16(1):107-12, 2008.

Honas, J.J., Washburn, R,A,, Smith, B.K., Green, J.L., Donnelly, J.E. The system for observing fitness instruction time (SOFIT) as a measure of energy expenditure during classroom based physical activity. Pediatric Exercise Science, 20(4):439-445, 2008.

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

Center for Physical Activity, Nutrition and Weight Management at Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City

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

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

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


The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies
1052 Dole
1000 Sunnyside Ave
Lawrence, KS 66045

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