Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Jessica Meendering


Background: To date many studies have evaluated the quality of written school wellness policies (SWPs), however, few have addresses SWP implementation. As SWPs have the potential to reduce childhood obesity, it is crucial for schools to not only write high quality SWPs, but also to implement these policy items. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between the quality of written SWPs and the degree of SWP implementation. We hypothesized that schools with higher quality written SWPs would have a higher degree of policy implementation. Methods: School wellness policy written quality and implementation were assessed in 24 public elementary schools. Written quality of SWPs was assessed with the Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT 2.0) and policy implementation was assessed with the Wellness School Assessment Tool for Implementation (WellSAT-I). Like questions from each tool were matched and Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between individually matched questions and total score of all matched questions, using Stata 12.1® (Stata/IC 14, College Station, TX). Statistical significance was set at p≤0.05. Results: There was a significant relationship found within two of the matched questions; student to teacher ratio in physical education class, having a moderate, negative correlation, (r=-0.47, p=0.02) and having a plan for updating best practices within a policy, showing a moderate, positive correlation (r=0.43, p=0.04). There was not a significant relationship between the quality of the written SWPs and the degree to which it is implemented using the total score from the matched questions (r=0.06, p=0.78). Conclusion: These data suggest that having a high quality written SWP does not lead to a higher degree of implementation. To date, the majority of SWP support focuses on the writing of quality SWPs. These data suggest that supports should be expanded to help schools with practical strategies to implement the items within their written policy. Funding: This material is based upon work that is supported by the Northland Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, Innovative Student Research Grant and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2011‐67002‐30202.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Elementary schools -- Health promotion services.
Obesity in children -- Prevention.
School children -- Nutrition.
Health education.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-35)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted

Included in

Kinesiology Commons