Children Must Choose Between Eating & Playing

Contributed by JC Boushh

The Cincinnati Enquirer recently posted an article “More Students Feel Lunchtime Crunch” investigating the growing issue of shortened school lunch times. Inquiries to parents throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area showed a consensus among parents that many school lunch periods had been shortened by as much as 10 minutes. Students complained that there was not enough time for them to get in line to receive their food, locate their seating, and then eat their meals, and parents complain of the waste, and their children not being allowed to eat their entire meals.

A local group Parents for Public Schools is voicing their concerns, presenting research to the school boards, and asking that a 30 minute lunch be required. The group is also asking that the district mandates recess be held before lunch so the students don't rush through lunch to get outside.

Research has shown:

•Improved cafeteria behavior.

•Calmer more relax students in the cafeteria.

•Students retuning to classroom calmer and ready to learn.

•Drink more milk.

•Students throw away less food.

•Students eat more.

•Fewer discipline problems.

•Fewer visits to the school nurse

Research by the Ohio Department of Education also shows the proper nutrition boost academic performance and cognitive development in children. While similar research shows that children who have more time to eat make healthier food choices and has linked short lunch periods to the obesity epidemic. With the support of parents, students, teachers, and organizations like Parents for Public Schools we can help administrators to understand the importance of not only healthy lunches, reasonable time to eat during lunchtime, but the link between recess before lunch and academics and childhood obesity.