Instructions for Authors

Guidelines for Authors


JHEAL is an online, open-access, triannual, peer-reviewed journal focused on publishing high-quality studies in the areas of active living and healthy eating.  Of particular interest are studies of the interactional nature between active living and/or healthy eating and the “environment”, broadly defined to include social, cultural, economic, political, natural, virtual, and built dimensions. Papers that report on multi-level studies and interventions are also welcome.  We publish full-length reports, brief communications, meta-analyses, scoping reviews, translational and practice-based research, policy and systems change evaluations, natural experiment studies, case studies, notes from the field, commentaries, and systematic reviews. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies are all encouraged. Because we value the application of research, we invite submissions from researchers as well as practice- and policy-oriented submissions from practitioners, policymakers, and advocates. Research papers will have separately labeled sections from practice and policy papers, and reviewers with appropriate expertise will be selected. We are also open to publishing digital media files, including maps, visualizations, and other modern media. Please contact the digital media editor before submitting one of these types of formats.


Primary Audience

The audience for this journal includes a broad array of disciplines, including public health, transportation, urban planning, parks and recreation, tourism, forestry, psychology, sociology, nutrition, agriculture, food marketing, political science, economics, and many others. The journal is intended to address not only researchers but policymakers and practitioners as well.

Abstracting and Indexing

Google Scholar, PKP Index

Copyright and Article Processing Fees

All articles published in the journal are open access under the Creative Commons Attributional-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).  The authors will retain the copyright of all articles published in the journal. The journal will be granted a right to publish from the authors upon acceptance of their manuscript. 

Article Processing Fees (APF) are charged to maintain the publication of the journal. The APF for full-length reports and research reviews is US$1,500. The APF for Brief Reports, Digital Media, and Case Studies is US$1,200. Commentaries are US$500, unless invited. All APF will also include an additional 8.25% sales tax. Fees are due upon article acceptance.

We have available a discount of 40% for lower-middle-income economies and 60% for low-income economies based on the World Bank Atlas Method and the location of the home institution of the corresponding author.

No refunds will be made for withdrawing a manuscript after it has been accepted for publication.

Ethical Guidelines

 JHEAL adheres to the COPE Core Practices regarding ethical guidelines for publication.

  1. Allegations of Misconduct. Any allegations of scientific misconduct should be immediately brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief, and those allegations will be addressed according to COPE standards.
  2. Authorship. Listed authors on a manuscript should have made significant contributions to justify their inclusion according to guidelines established by the APA Manual of Style, 7th Edition, including significant roles in study design, data analysis, study implementation, interpretation of results, and paper write-up. Authorship roles should be able to be justified if asked by reviewers or editorial staff. Any concerns about authorship will be addressed according to COPE standards.
  3. Complaints or Appeals. Any complaints or concerns about any aspect of the publication process should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief.
  4. Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement. Preventing and addressing real or potential conflicts of interest are essential to assuring confidence in study results and are taken very seriously by the editorial staff and reviewers alike. COPE guidelines are followed.
  5. Data and Reproducibility. All studies that report data from a clinical trial must indicate whether or not they have preregistered their study (eg, If so, trial number should be included in the paper. It is strongly recommended that all clinical trials be registered.
  6. Ethical Oversight. JHEAL will follow the COPE protocol if there are concerns about ethical concerns regarding a submission, and the following protocols are required for all submissions involving human or animal research.
  7. Plagiarism. Plagiarism is taken seriously.  All articles will be routinely screened for plagiarism and the authors will be contacted if significant overlap with other documents exist.


Human Subjects or Animal Approval Statement.

Where relevant, include human subjects or animal protection statements indicating institutional review and approval with document number, if possible, or statement of exempt status.

Informed Consent Requirement

Where appropriate and consistent with institutional review board requirements, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), European Union Directive 95/46/EC, and other rules specific to the location of where the research was conducted, include a clear indication that informed consent was obtained from all participants in the research.


An author is defined as an individual who has participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content. Authorship credit should be based only on substantial contributions to: a) conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of data; b) drafting at least a portion of the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and c) final approval of the version to be published. Anyone who does not meet all three of these criteria (e.g., someone who participated in data collection or analysis only) should be credited for their contribution in the acknowledgments.

All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship. The order of authorship should be a joint decision of the co-authors, and the authors’ contributions should be explained at the end of each manuscript.

One author must be appointed by the authors as the corresponding author. This person will be responsible for communicating with the editor and co-authors about revisions at all stages of editing and final approval of the text, proofreading, and completing the Author Publishing Agreement. In general, the corresponding author should be available to take charge of revisions, copyediting, and proofreading following receipt of peer reviews and acceptance of the manuscript, up to publication.


Any funding received for the study must be disclosed as follows:

For single agency grants: This work was supported by the [Funding Agency] under Grant [number xxxx].

For multiple agency grants: This work was supported by the [funding Agency 1]; under Grant [number xxxx]; [Funding Agency 2] under Grant [number xxxx]; and [Funding Agency 3] under Grant [number xxxx].

Conflict of Interest

Disclosure of any and all conflicts of interest are required in the manuscript and cover letter. Conflict of Interest declarations follows the International Committee for Medical Journal Editors guidelines.



Submitting your paper

All papers are submitted through our online portal  All papers should be submitted as a Word file, double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font.


Types of articles


  1. Research Full Report:2000-6000 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no more than 5 tables or figures, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.
  2. Research Brief Report: 1000-2000 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no more than one table or figure, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.
  3. Research Review: <6000 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no more than 5 tables or figures, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included. Includes systematic, scoping and literature reviews.
  4. Digital Media: GIS maps, videos and other visualization; <1500 words explaining the digital media, no tables or figures.


  1. Practice Full Report:2000-6000 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no more than 5 tables or figures, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.  Program evaluations are encouraged.
  2. Practice Brief Report:1000-2000 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no more than one table or figure, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.  Program evaluations are encouraged.
  3. Case Study:<3500 words (not including abstract, tables, figures, or references), no Implications for Policy & Practice, no more than five tables or figures, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.


  1. Commentary: <1500 words, 3 or fewer authors, no abstract, no more than 1 table or figure, although additional tables/figures as supplemental digital content may be included.


Articles will be published following the American Psychological Association (APA) style guidelines, 7th edition.  Articles may be submitted following the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines but will need to be changed to APA style upon acceptance.


Peer Review

All manuscripts undergo an initial review by one of the editors.  Manuscripts meeting the scope of the journal and initial methodological review will be sent to at least two peer reviewers except for commentaries.  Commentaries will be reviewed by at least one of the editors. Research articles will be reviewed by researchers, and practice articles by practitioners.  The goal of the journal is to have the average time for the initial decision to be less than 60 days and to publish accepted manuscripts online first within three weeks.


Peer reviewers will not be blinded to the authors.  The identity of peer reviewers will remain anonymous throughout the peer review process.  If the article is accepted for publication, the reviewers may select to have their name disclosed on the publication.


Cover letter

A cover letter should accompany every submission.  The cover letter should contain all of the following information:


  1. The type of article being submitted (see “Type of Articles” section)
  2. A conflict of interest statement that there is no conflict of interest or disclosure of what potential conflicts of interest are.
  3. A disclosure of any and all funding sources.
  4. A statement on the contribution of each of the authors and assurance that all authors have met the requirements for authorship, reviewed the paper, and agree to be on the submitted paper and that the paper is solely the work of the authors listed.
  5. A statement that the paper is not under review elsewhere and has not been previously published.
  6. The paper contains no plagiarized data, texts, or figures and acknowledges and references relevant previous works.
  7. If the research was conducted with human participants, Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


Preparing your Manuscript

All articles except communications (commentaries, case studies, and notes from the field) from the field should include a title page, abstract, keywords introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references. 


Commentaries, case studies, and notes from the field should include a title page, keywords, the body of the text, and references.



Title page

On your title page, please include all authors’ full names, institutions or affiliations, city and country. Clearly identify the corresponding author. Include the email, phone number, and mailing address of the corresponding author.  Authors’ affiliations are the affiliations where the research was conducted. 


Abstract and keywords

Please prepare an abstract for your submissions, with a maximum of 250 words. Abstracts are required for full-length articles, review articles, and brief reports.  Abstracts should not include headings but should follow the sections of the manuscript, including introduction, methods, results, and discussion.


When submitting, authors will also need to select three to seven specific keywords to increase the visibility of your research in article searches like those that appear in the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) or the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).


Author Contributions

An author contribution statement should follow the discussion section and include the contributions by each of the authors and anyone included in the acknowledgments section following  CASRAI CRediT guidelines. 


For example:


Conceptualization, J.E.M and J.B.M.; Methodology, A.H., J.E.M. and J.B.M.; Investigation, A.H., A.G., J.E.M. and J.B.M.; Writing – Original Draft, J.E.M., Writing – Review & Editing, A.H. and A.G., Funding Acquisition, J.E.M and J.B.M..; Resources, J.O.S.; Supervision, J.O.S.




Acknowledgments should be included after the discussion section and recognize individuals who contributed to the manuscript but did not meet author guidelines as well as any and all funding sources and other potential conflicts of interest.



Tables and Figures

Each table should be in a separate document.

  • Number tables consecutively and include a brief title for each.
  • Include explanatory footnotes for all nonstandard abbreviations. For footnotes, use the following symbols in this sequence: *, †, ‡, §, ll, **, etc.
  • Cite each table in the text in consecutive order.
  • If you use data from another published or unpublished source, obtain permission and acknowledge it fully. Include "Source: Author" on the tables that you created.
  • Each figure must be saved and submitted as a separate file. Figures should not be embedded in the manuscript text file.
  • Cite figures consecutively in your manuscript.
  • Number figures in the figure legend in the order in which they are discussed.


Supplemental Materials

Supplementary Materials (SM) are posted permanently on the JHEAL website, are linked to the manuscript, and are freely available. Supplementary Materials must be essential to the scientific integrity and excellence of the paper but do not need to be read to understand the paper. The material is subject to the same editorial standards and peer-review procedures as the print publication.

In general, the Supplementary Materials may comprise

  • Materials and Methods: The materials and methods section should provide sufficient information to allow replication of the study. Additional instruments, measures, and protocols may be added as SM.
  • Supplementary Text: Is not accepted as SM.
  • Figures and Tables: Additional figures and tables may be published as SM and referred to in the main text.
  • Multimedia files: Video clips, GIS maps, and other digital material may be submitted in consultation with the digital media editor.
  • References only cited in the supplementary materials should be included at the end of the reference section of the main text, and the reference numbering should continue as if the Supplementary Materials were a continuation of the main text.

Both at initial submission and at the revision stage, authors should submit the supplementary sections, materials, and methods, text, tables, and figures, as a single Docx or PDF file that should not exceed 25 MB.

Questions:  Any questions about these submission guidelines can be submitted to for clarification.