Characteristics and effectiveness of physical activity, nutrition and/or sleep interventions to improve the mental well-being of teachers: A scoping review

Publication Name

Health Education Journal


Objective: Teachers face high levels of occupational stress, which can influence their mental well-being and contribute to teacher burnout. Healthy levels of exercise, a good diet and adequate sleep can reduce stress and improve mental well-being outcomes. This study explores the characteristics and effectiveness of lifestyle interventions on teachers’ mental well-being, including burnout; discusses directions for future programmes; and aims to identify the nature of evidence and gaps in the research field. Methods: A scoping review was conducted in May 2020 via ERIC, Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, Education Source, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus and Scopus databases. The search included relevant peer-reviewed articles on physical activity, nutrition and sleep interventions reporting teachers’ mental well-being outcomes. A quality assessment tool was used to appraise the quality and risk of bias of the included studies. Results: Sixteen intervention studies met the inclusion criteria. All studies incorporated physical activity into the intervention; however, only four included aspects of nutrition or sleep. No studies reported only nutrition or sleep interventions alone. The heterogeneity of interventions and their reported outcomes makes comparisons difficult. In general, the quality of the included studies was low due to small sample sizes, poor study design and incomplete reporting of information. Conclusion: Preliminary evidence suggests lifestyle interventions can improve mental well-being outcomes for teachers; however good-quality research is needed to improve the evidence base. Future interventions should have stronger research designs and larger sample sizes and use established measurements for assessing outcomes.

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