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Jim Annesi, PhD Photo

Dr. Jim Annesi joined the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in early 2000 as Director of Wellness Advancement. He is also Professor of Health Promotion, and Community Health Promotion Research and Development Liaison, at Kennesaw State University’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services. He was previously on the faculties of Rutgers University and The College of New Jersey, and held clinical and research positions at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Trinitas Medical Center, and Enhanced Performance Technologies. He was elected as a Fellow of The American Academy of Health Behavior in 2011, and The Obesity Society and the American Psychological Association in 2014.

Dr. Annesi’s research program includes approximately 135 peer-reviewed publications related to health behavior change theory and methods applied to exercise adherence, weight management, and the effects of physical activity on mental health, self-image, and other quality-of-life factors. His recent findings on the linkages between physical activity, psychosocial changes, and sustained weight loss form the theoretical bases for an emerging system for the large-scale treatment and prevention of obesity in both adults and children – with an emphasis on maintaining healthy weights. His study articulating some of these findings was the “most read” article in the journal Behavioral Medicine for the years 2012-2013. His research in the late 1990’s initiated the use of “virtual reality” into exercise behavior change.

Dr. Annesi also authored over a hundred articles and chapters for health promotion practitioners, and 3 books that translate scientific research for applied use. His evidence-based programs, THE COACH APPROACH, Youth Fit 4 Life, Start For Life, and The Health and Fitness Experience, are presently used within a variety of preventive medicine, community health promotion, university, and academic medicine settings in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, and Japan. Their research and development have been supported by agencies such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, U.S. Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Canadian Interior Health Authority, along with numerous private foundations. 

The primary study cited within RTIPs incorporated the use of a fitness center. THE COACH APPROACH would be effective by just using walking or biking outside as the physical activity, if that was what was available or preferred.

THE COACH APPROACH has been adapted for teens, adolescent and adult post-bariatric surgery, and adults affected by breast cancer, renal disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. THE COACH APPROACH is also appropriate for men.

However, THE COACH APPROACH processes would probably not be appropriate for youths younger than 15 years. 

The protocol is highly structured, so its administrators need little experience or knowledge about cognitive-behaviorally based self-management methods.

Because some wellness professionals who might be in a position to administer THE COACH APPROACH have high interest and training in exercise science, they might naturally gravitate to too-ambitious exercise plans initially. The philosophy of “build the exercise habit first – then concentrate on fitness-related progress” is often contrary to their training. 

Regular quality assurance/fidelity checks are essential for success with THE COACH APPROACH. Although the exercise-support methods are not difficult to deliver, they are different than the typical exercise physiological approach for initiating new and returning participants.

We have provided an easy-to-follow, 10-point, survey that will make the quality assurance process smooth. 

Updated: 12/12/2019 05:39:16