Recommendations for administrators’ involvement in school-based health promotion: A scoping review

Collin A. Webster*, Genee Glascoe, Chanta Moore, Brian Dauenhauer, Cate A. Egan, Laura B. Russ, Karie Orendorff, Cathy Buschmeier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


School administrator involvement is recognized as a key factor in the extent to which school health promotion programs and initiatives are successfully implemented. The aims of this scoping review are to: (a) Identify existing documents that contain recommendations regarding the involvement of school administrators in school-based health promotion; (b) distill and summarize the recommendations; (c) examine differences in the recommendations by targeted professional level, professional group, health promotion content focus, and by whether the recommendations are evidence-based or opinion-based; and (d) evaluate the research informing the recommendations. We drew upon the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines to conduct the review. Our team conducted a comprehensive literature search with no date or geographic restrictions from January 2018 through April 2018 using four electronic databases: Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar, Physical Education Index, and PubMed. Eligibility criteria included any online documents, in English, that contained recommendations targeting school administrators’ (e.g., principals, assistant principals, superintendents) involvement (e.g., support, endorsement, advocacy) in school health programming (e.g., physical activity, nutrition, wellness). The search yielded a total of 1225 records, which we screened by title, then by abstract, and finally by full text, resulting in 61 records that met inclusion criteria. Data (e.g., recommendations, targeted contexts, targeted administrators) from these records were extracted for a content analysis. Included records contained 80 distinct recommendations, which we summarized into three themes (Collaboration, Advocacy, and Support) using a content analysis. Separate content analyses revealed no qualitative differences in the recommendations by professional level, professional group, or content focus, or by whether the recommendations were evidence-based or opinion-based. Twenty-one of the included records were peer-reviewed research articles. Using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT), we appraised qualitative research articles the highest and mixed methods research articles the lowest. This review provides a basis for future research and professional practice aiming to increase school administrators’ involvement in school-based health promotion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6249
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Educational leadership
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Physical education
  • Principal
  • Superintendent
  • Wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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