Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Jessica Meendering


principal priorities, school wellness, school wellness committee, school wellness policy, wellness policy implementation, written wellness policy


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship between principal priorities, written wellness policies, and school wellness policy implementation. Methods: Principal priorities of nutrition and physical activity, written wellness policy quality and degree of policy implementation were assessed in 95 schools from eight states using the principal priorities questionnaire, the Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT) version 2.0, and the Wellness School Assessment Tool for Implementation (WellSAT-I), respectively. Data is analyzed using Stata Statistical Software: Release 15. All data is presented as means ± standard error Statistical significant was set at p≤0.05.
Results: There was not a significant relationship between principal priorities on nutrition and WellSAT 2.0 sections using both comprehensiveness and strength scores. Similarly, no significant relationships were found between total scope and total mastery scores from the WellSAT-I and principal priorities on nutrition. Total strength score and total comprehensiveness score from the WellSAT 2.0 showed no association to principal priorities on physical activity and physical education. Likewise, no association was found between total scope and total mastery score from the WellSAT-I and principal priorities on physical activity and physical education.
Discussion: The present study yielded different results than previous literature potentially because this study looked at principal priorities specifically, whereas the previous literature focused on the individual dedicated to improving wellness within the school, whether they were the principal or not. The lack of strict regulations on creating and implementing a wellness policy can cause a communication disconnect between the district and the school. Together with our data, this shows that although the principal is the school leader, their priorities of Nutrition and PA are not fundamental to wellness efforts.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Schools -- Health promotion services -- Evaluation.
School principals -- Attitudes.
School children -- Nutrition.
Physical fitness for children.
Health promotion.
Health education.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright