Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Lacey McCormack


implementation, national school lunch, nutrition education, physical education, school leaders, school wellness policy


Background: All schools participating in the National School Lunch Program must possess a written School Wellness Policy (SWP) as mandated by the Healthy, Hunger- Free Kids Act of 2010.1 School officials and leaders play a major role in SWP implementation. It is essential to written SWP implementation that school level officials and leaders in the district are aware of the SWP. However, the association between school leader awareness of SWP and policy quality has not yet been studied.
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to determine if school leader awareness of a SWP impacts the written SWP quality.
Methods: 24 Eastern SD elementary school principals from 22 school districts participated. Principal awareness of written SWP was assessed by their answer to having read, not read, or partially read their SWP. Written SWPs were assessed for quality using the WellSAT 2.0 and principal responses were obtained using the WellSAT-i. Written SWP scores in areas of strength and comprehensiveness were compared with principal responses.
Results: Most principals (66.7%) answered that they had fully read their SWP and a smaller percentage of principals (33.3%) answered that they had either not read or only partially read their SWP. No association was found between principal awareness of their SWP, assessed by having read or not read, and written policy scores in areas of overall comprehensiveness, overall strength, or the strength and comprehensiveness of each content section.
Conclusion: Although no association was found between a principal’s awareness of the written SWP and the written SWP scores, school leaders can be identified as those beyond general administration or principals. Future research should focus on other professionals within the school as being wellness policy leaders and assess the implementation of a written SWP and leader awareness of the SWP in a more objective way.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

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



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright