Year of Publication

2014

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Mark Swanson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Richard Crosby

Committee Member

Corrine Williams

Abstract

A recent trend in school health intervention has been through policy creation and development. Studies have shown that changes in school health policy can improve student health behaviors, particularly in physical activity and nutrition. This study looked at how potential factors could affect the scores of a school policy assessment tool called the Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT). Using a combination of t-tests, chi-square tests, and logistic regression, schools’ strength and comprehensiveness nutrition scores from the WellSAT were analyzed when compared to Free and Reduced Lunch Rates, type of school, and whether schools had separate policies from their school district. Results found that a.) Strength scores were not found to be statistically significant with all factors assessed, b.) Free and Reduced Lunch Rates had no significant association with WellSAT scores, and c.) Type of school and separate policies from the district were found to be significant predictors of WellSAT comprehensiveness scores. These findings show that more work can be done in these schools in regard to strength of policy wording, working more in secondary schools, and creating more thorough individual school policies, rather than using them as supplements to district policy.

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