A fresh outlook on exercise as metro Atlanta creates more walkable neighborhoods (Saporta Report)

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 27, 2018

Amid all the discussion of walkable neighborhoods and how they boost community health, almost overlooked is the cutting-edge research produced by the YMCA of Metro Atlanta that is helping people improve their physical and emotional health.

The YMCA leads all institutions for the number of wellness programs it’s created that are cited by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. The YMCA has five such programs.

The various programs created in Atlanta have been adopted for use in 35 YMCA cities across the United States. They’ve been adopted by practitioners in Canada and the United Kingdom.

“People don’t realize this is coming out of Atlanta,” said James Annesi, who since 2000 has led the association’s wellness research and evaluation program. “We don’t’ realize the YMCA can produce these kinds of things.”

Annesi was the first full-time behavioral researcher to be hired by a YMCA. He’s also a professor at Kennesaw State University’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.