Tara J. Pratt

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Jessica Meendering


Introduction: As a means to combat the childhood obesity epidemic, congress enacted the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. This act required all school districts participating in the Healthy School Lunch or Breakfast Program to create and implement a school wellness policy. In 2010 the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act required additional components be added to school wellness policies, such as public notification of wellness policy initiatives. There is currently not a survey tool available that measures these new mandate requirements among school administrators, school staff and parents in school wellness policies. Goal: The goal of this research study is to create a valid and reliable survey that can be used to asses engagement in school wellness policies among school administrators, school staff and parents. Methods: A 41-item online survey was created using the Dillman Method. Nine cognitive interviews with school administrators, teachers and parents were conducted prior to survey distribution for item refinement. There were 1819 survey respondents (45 school administrators, 770 school staff, 901 parents) from the 17 participation school districts. A subsample 0f 472 survey respondents (7 school administrators,189 school staff, 276 parents) completed the survey a second time. Factor analysis was performed to measure construct validity of the 41-item survey and the survey was reduced. A subsequent factor analysis was conducted on the reduced 14-item survey. Test- retest reliability was evaluated using Pearson Product Moment correlations and a Cronbach alpha coefficient was run to assess internal consistency. Results: The survey was reduced in length to the items that loaded at values ≥0.4 level and loaded consistently within the same factor. Twelve out of the 14 items loaded well among all groups for scoring. Test-retest reliability resulted in good reliability for the total score among all groups (r=0.802, r=0.755, r=0.816). Cronbach’s alpha displayed acceptable internal consistency among all groups (r=0.810, r=0.792, r=0.776). Discussion: Additional modifications on question and scoring format, and the use of a more detailed evaluation model are needed to improve the reliability, validity, and feasibility of use of the School Wellness Policy Engagement Survey

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Schools -- Health promotion services.
School children -- Health and hygiene
School children -- Nutrition
Health attitudes


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted

Included in

Nutrition Commons