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Do children get enough time to eat school lunch? – School news


Most elementary students are given only ten minutes to dine, although many parents and teachers agree that this is not enough time for children to finish eating food in their lunch box.

In a study that shows that school lunches are a very controversial issue, researchers from the Dickin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), and the School of Exercise and Nutrition (SENS) found that parents felt that children needed at least 15 minutes to finish lunch before they were allowed to go out for a walk.

Dr Claire Marguerison of IPAN and Dr Melissa Burton of SENS announced their study, recently published in Appetiteshowed that when children were given more time, parents reported that they were more likely to finish what was in their lunch box.

“Our study found that some parents also believe that limiting meal times affects the type of food their children want to eat for lunch,” Dr. Burton said.

“For example, if there is less time to eat, children are more likely to prefer the most attractive foods in their lunch box, such as sweets, which are often poor in nutrients.

“These findings not only affect children’s health, but also their ability to learn, as research shows us that good nutrition is necessary to help children develop in their studies,” Dr. Burton said.

Dr Margerison said the results also reveal mixed views on who should be responsible for promoting healthy eating, role-playing positive eating behaviors and who should have the right to judge the contents of a children’s lunch box.

“About half of the parents and teachers surveyed said that only parents and children should choose what food they eat at school, while one quarter of parents and one third of teachers believe that schools should be responsible for monitoring how food is brought from home, ”Dr. Marguerison said.

“Criticism of individual children’s lunch boxes in general was considered inappropriate by both parents and teachers.”

But research has shown that most parents welcome more general suggestions and feedback about the products they bring to school, such as the school bulletin.

“Many parents believed that teachers should eat lunch with their children themselves, believing it would be a good reason to imitate children’s healthy eating,” Dr. Margerison said. But this proposal was not supported by many teachers.

“Children spend so much time in school, the boundaries between what is the responsibility of parents and the responsibility of the teacher are often blurred, and these research findings certainly highlight some of these gray areas,” Dr. Marguerison said.

“But obviously giving children just five extra minutes for lunch would be a very positive step and potentially increase their ability to focus on learning.

“As we find these extra five minutes, we want to consider the following. Will we take it from play time or from lessons, or could we have an educational lunch and teach about nutrition at the same time? ”


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