Photo Credit: AZ Quotes

To honor some of health promotion’s best scientists and especially to recognize those who bring outstanding humanity to their field of inquiry and bigheartedness to their writing, I am pleased to announce the American Journal of Health Promotion Papers of the Year. Occasionally I hear from colleagues concerned that health promotion is “focused too much on the physical.” As I worked with my fellow editors on the impossible job of picking our favorites from 2017 I was reminded why that premise has always fallen flat to my ears. As I see all year long while reviewing and editing studies, and as you will see from the brilliant research recognized here, our field’s leaders are offering ever more sophisticated insights into social forces that shape behaviors, policies that change cultures, stigma and emotional health, parental influences on well-being and the role of volunteerism in mental and emotional resiliency. Our field has never been more holistic, influential and impactful.

I hope you will return to again read the studies featured below because these are advancing our field through innovative interventions, thoughtful literature reviews or novel descriptive studies. Albert Einstein said: “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” Our appreciation goes out to these authors for their fresh ideas and for taking risks in formulating their research questions.

These are also papers that spark a fire for achieving health and well-being for all. Stephen Hawking said that “science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.” We looked to these author’s discussion sections, in particular, to assess how they applied what they learned to continuous improvement for our discipline and to enlarging our field’s reach. Special consideration was given to research methods and scientific writing that epitomized compassionate advocacy for health and well-being for all.

Michael P. O’Donnell Paper of the Year

  • The Effect of Changes in Physical Activity on Sedentary Behavior: Results from a Randomized Lifestyle Intervention Trial

Juned Siddique, DrPH, Peter John de Chavez, MS, Lynette L. Craft, PhD, Patty Freedson, PhD, Bonnie Spring, PhD, American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 4: pp. 287-295.

Editor in Chief’s Award: 2017 Paper of the Year

  • Rx: It’s Good to be Good.

Steven Post, Ph.D., and Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 3: pp. 251-261.

Editor’s Picks for 2017 from the American Journal of Health Promotion

  • The Impact of Weight Labels on Body Image, Internalized Weight Stigma, Affect, Perceived Health, and Intended Weight Loss Behaviors in Normal-Weight and Overweight College Women

Jamal H. Essayli, MA, Jessica M. Murakami, MA, Rebecca E. Wilson, PhD, Janet D. Latner, PhD; American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 6: pp. 484-490.

  • An Overview of State Policies Supporting Worksite Health Promotion Programs

Jennifer VanderVeur, JD, Siobhan Gilchrist, JD, MPH, Dyann Matson-Koffman, DrPH, MPH, CHES,; American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 3: pp. 232-242162

  • Promoting Diet and Physical Activity in Nurses, A Systematic Review

Luciana Torquati, MSc Nutr, Toby Pavey, PhD, Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, PhD, Michael Leveritt, PhD, American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 1: pp. 19-27.

  • An Epidemiological Study of Population Health Reveals Social Smoking as a Major Cardiovascular Risk Factor

Kate Sustersic Gawlik, DNP, Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, Alai Tan, PhD, American Journal of Health Promotion, First published online, May 2nd, 2017

  • Engaging Parents to Promote Children’s Nutrition and Health: Providers’ Barriers and Strategies in Head Start and Child Care Centers

Dipti A. Dev, PhD, Courtney Byrd-Williams, PhD, Samantha Ramsay, PhD, RD, LD, American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 2: pp. 153-162.

  •  The Wearables in Wellness Issue

Jessica Grossmeier, Ph.D., Jack Bastable, Philip Swayze, Lidia Nelkovski, Trent Tangen, Nathan Barleen, Sherry Freeman, Heidi Forbes Oste, Rajiv Kumar, American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 31, 3: pp. 251-261.

Papers of the Year Award Criteria

The award criteria our journal editors considered were applied for both the study and the paper such that the:

  1. Study addresses a topic of timely importance in health promotion.
  2. Research question is clearly stated and the methodologies used are well executed.
  3. Paper is often cited and/or downloaded.
  4. The study findings offer a unique contribution to the literature.
  5. Paper is well-written and enjoyable to read.

Congratulations to these first authors and co-authors. For scientists interested in submitting their research findings to SAGE Publishing and this Journal, see the author tab at the American Journal of Health Promotion. For questions about these Journal Awards, contact Paul E. Terry, PhD, Editor in Chief, American Journal of Health Promotion, and President and CEO of HERO, a health and well-being research organization.

 About SAGE Publishing

Sara Miller McCune founded SAGE Publishing in 1965 to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community. SAGE is a leading international provider of innovative, high-quality content publishing more than 900 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. Our growing selection of library products includes archives, data, case studies, and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melbourne.

About HERO

Based in Waconia, MN, HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 corporation that was established in 1996. HERO is dedicated to identifying and sharing best practices that improve the health and well-being of employees, their families, and communities. To learn more, visit Follow us on Twitter @heroehm or LinkedIn.


©2024 Health Enhancement Research Organization ‘HERO’


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