John Jakicic
Director Healthy Lifestyle Institute & Physical Activity & Weight Management Research Center

Distinguished Professor and Director, Healthy Lifestyle Institute
Health and Human Development

Dr. John M. Jakicic, PhD is a Distinguished Professor, Director of the Healthy Lifestyle Institute, and Director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center. Dr. Jakicic has a national and international reputation as a leading scholar in this area of physical activity, and this builds on a line of research to determine the appropriate dose of physical activity for long-term body weight regulation and related chronic diseases across the lifespan. Within this line of research Dr. Jakicic studies the interaction between energy expenditure and energy intake, the influence of these factors on body weight regulation, and the biological and behavioral pathways by which physical activity impacts health-related outcomes.

Dr. Jakicic’s early research was key to the public health recommendation regarding physical activity for weight control, and he is an expert in the implementation of strategies to improve long-term adherence to physical activity. He has also been at the forefront of applying technology to physical activity interventions, which includes wearable technologies and low-intensity intervention strategies for lifestyle behavior change.

Dr. Jakicic has served on various national and international committees to develop physical activity guidelines for the prevention and treatment of obesity and other chronic conditions, which included the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Scientific Advisory Committee. Thus, he has been influential in the heightened awareness of physical activity and sedentary behavior as a key lifestyle factor related to health, with a particular focus on obesity and related conditions, which he integrates into his courses and mentoring of students.

Instructional Interests

Dr. Jakicic teaches courses and trains students in the Health and Physical Activity program. His areas of specialization include health and physical activity intervention development, clinical assessment and evaluation, obesity and related chronic conditions, and professional development related to grantsmanship and scholarly activities.

He has recently instructed the following courses:

  • HPA 2383: Advanced Clinical Health and Physical Activity Assessment
  • HPA 3405: Grant Writing in HPA
  • HPA 3406: Professional Writing in HPA

Scholarly Interests

Dr. Jakicic has research interests in the following areas:

  • Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior
  • Lifestyle Interventions to Reduce the Risk of Chronic Conditions
  • Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Body Weight Regulation
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Assessment of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior
  • Energy Balance
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Application of Technology to Assessment and Lifestyle Interventions
  • Alternative forms of Physical Activity and Exercise

Selected Grants

Look AHEAD: Action for Health In Diabetes
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIDDK)
$203,310

Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Clinical Center (U01) - Pittsburgh Adult Clinical Center
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIAMS)
$1,500,000

Investigating Gains in Neurocognition in an Intervention Trial of Exercise
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIA)
$3,750,664

Alliance of Randomized Trials of Medicine versus Metabolic Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes (ARMMS-T2D)
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIDDK)
$1,500,846

Long-Term Impact of Random Assignment to Intensive Lifestyle Intervention on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: The Action for Health in Diabetes ADRD Study (Look AHEAD-MIND)
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIA)
$1,794,738

Healing LB3P: Profiling Biomechanical, Biological, and Behavioral Phenotypes
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIAMS)
$974,408

Pittsburgh Older Americans Independence Center
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIA)
$949,839

Intestinal Mechanisms and Molecular Predictors of Type 2 Diabetes Remission After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIDDK)
$100,000

Reducing Sedentary Behavior to Improve Sleep: An Ancillary Study to the RESET BP Clinical Trial
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NHLBI)
$250,000

Effects of Reducing Sedentary Behavior on Blood Pressure
National Institutes of Health (NIH-NHLBI)
$447,481

Featured Publications

  • Rogers RJ, Schelbert EB, Lang W, Fridman Y, Yuan N, Jakicic JM. Association of fitness and body fatness with left ventricular mass: The Heart Health Study. Obesity Science and Practice. 2020; 6(1): 19-27. DOI: 10.1002/osp4.380. PMID: 32128239

  • Erickson KI, Grove GA, Burns JM, Hillman CH, Kramer AF, McAuley E, Vidoni ED, Becker JT, Butters MA, Gray K, Huang H, Jakicic JM, Kamboh MI, Kang C, Klunk WE, Lee P, Marsland AL, Mettenburg J, Rogers RJ, Stillman CM, Sutton BP, Szabo-Reed A, Verstynen TD, Watt JC, Weinstein AM, Wollam ME. Investigating gains in neurocognition in an intervention trial of exercise (IGNITE): Protocol. Contemp Clin Trials. 2019; Oct;85:105832. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2019.105832. PMID: 31465859.

  • Courcoulas AP, Gallagher JW, Neiberg RH, Eagleton EB, DeLany JP, Lang W, Punchai S, Gourash W, Jakicic JM. Bariatric Surgery vs. Lifestyle Intervention for Diabetes Treatment: 5-year oucomes from a randomized trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020; 105(3): pii: dgaa006. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa006. PMID: 31917447

  • Donofry SD, Jakicic JM, Rogers RJ, Watt JC, Roecklein KA, Erickson KI. Comparison of Food Cue-Evoked and Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Obesity. Psychosom Med. 2020; 82(3): 261-271. PMID: 32267660

  • Look AHEAD Research Group, Yeh HC, Bantle JP, Cassidy-Begay M, Blackburn G, Bray GA, Byers T, Clark JM, Coday M, Egan C, Espeland MA, Foreyt JP, Garcia K, Goldman V, Gregg EW, Hazuda HP, Hesson L, Hill JO, Horton ES, Jakicic JM, Jeffery RW, Johnson KC, Kahn SE, Knowler WC, Korytkowski M, Kure A, Lewis CE, Mantzoros C, Meacham M, Montez MG, Nathan DM, Pajewski N, Patricio J, Peters A, Xavier Pi-Sunyer F, Pownall H, Ryan DH, Safford M, Sedjo RL, Steinburg H, Vitolins M, Wadden TA, Wagenknecht LE, Wing RR, Wolff AC, Wyatt H, Yanovski SZ. Intensive Weight Loss Intervention and Cancer Risk in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: Analysis of the Look AHEAD Randomized Clinical Trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Sep;28(9):1678-1686. doi: 10.1002/oby.22936.PMID: 32841523

  • Jakicic JM, Rogers RJ, Collins AM, Jackson R. Strategies for Physical Activity Interventions in the Treatment of Obesity. Endocrinol Metab Clin N Am. 2020; 49(2): 289-301.

  • Kovacs SJ, Courcoulas AP, Rogers RJ, Davis KK, Jakicic JM. Factors associated with physical activity in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. SOARD. 2020 Aug 11:S1550-7289(20)30460-3. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2020.07.031. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32919909

  • Peven JC, Jakicic JM, Rogers RJ, Lesnovskaya A, Erickson KI, Kang C, Zhou X, Porter A, Donofry SD, Watt JC, Stillman CM. The effects of a 12-month weight loss intervention on cognitive outcomes in adults with overweight and obesity. Nutrients. 2020; 12:2988. doi:10.3390/nu12102988

  • Jakicic JM, Horton ES, Curtis JM, Killean TM, Bray GA, Cheskin LJ, Johnson KC, Middelbeek RJW, Pi-Sunyer X, Regensteiner JG, Ribisl PM, Wagenknecht L, Espeland MA, and the Look AHEAD Research Group. Abnormal Exercise Test or CVD History on Weight Loss or Fitness: the Look AHEAD Trial. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (TJACSM). 2020; 5(12): e000134. doi: 10.1249/TJX.0000000000000134

  • Rogers RJ, Kovacs SJ, Collins K, Raybuck S, Collins AM, Marcin ML, Foster GD, Jakicic JM. Observations of a Commercial Weight Loss Program on Physical Function and Selected CVD Risk Factors. Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. 2020; 5(12): e000137. doi: 10.1249/TJX.0000000000000137

Awards and Honors

  • 2019 Citation Award: American College of Sports Medicine

  • 2018-2020: Chair NIH Study PRDP Study Section

  • 2018: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee

  • 2012: University of Pennsylvania Dr. Stunkard Obesity Award

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • The Obesity Society
  • National Institutes of Health