Increase the lunch eating break to more than 15 minutes for SD72 elementary children
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Multiple studies and professionals support the notion that a 15 minute eating break isn't enough time for kids to eat. It takes the brain 15-20 minutes to tell the stomach it is full
When kids don't have enough time to eat; aside from food waste we have children who are tired; hangry and are not fueling their growing bodies. This can lead to childhood obesity, body image issues and eating habits that are less than healthy; and all because the importance to eating isn't given enough time in our district.
The issue of only having 15 minutes eating has significant and lasting impact on our children. It may be "just 15 minutes" or "teachers may only have our children for 5 hours of the day"; but the impact of the 15 minute eating break and the 5 hours our children are entrusted to professionals can make a lifetime of difference. The quality of the education our children receive is far more important than the dollars in the system. The quality of professionals and advocates ; our children have; is far more important than the number of provisions or lack thereof in the School Act. The 15 minute eating break hardly supports healthy eating habits let alone encompass the healthy eating focus in our new curriculum.
Students with fewer than 20 minutes to eat consume 13% less veggies, 23% fewer selections of fruits and 10% less consumption of milk; compared to students with 25 or more minutes for lunch. These are significant numbers; especially for young minds. Less intake means less fuel for their minds and body; not to mention food waste. (Juliana F.W. Cohen, Jacquelyn L. John, Eric B. Rimm; The Amount of Time to Eat Lunch is Associated with Children's Selection and Consumption of School Meal Entree, Fruits, Vegetable, and MilkThe Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016 Jan; 116(1) 123-128)
Although schools may only have our children for "just 5 hours of the day" and they are trying to educate them and try and fix many "societal problems"; these 5 hours a day have a significance impact on their eating habits throughout their lives. There is an alarming increase of childhood obesity and body images issues in children as young as 6 and 8. Paul J. Veugelers and Angela L. Fitzgerald surveyed 5200 grade 5 students along with their parents and school principals, in Nova Scotia in 2003. (American Journal of Public Health V93 P432-435) They found that "students from schools participating in a coordinated progress that incorporated recommendations for school-based healthy eating programs exhibited significantly lower rates of overweight and obesity." Our brain takes on average 15-20 minutes to tell us that our stomach is full and to stop eating. In a 15 minute eating break; our kids will never get to the "full" feeling. If they are not full how do we expect them to sit still and learn and observe? How do we expect them to participate in their education?
This may be just 15 minutes to a parent in your school district (the petition of parents and advocates will disagree with this) but this 15 minutes has broad encompassing implications to our children's long term health and success.
Food and meal time should be associated with an experience and not a "to do" list.
Please add your support and your testimonial in the comments. All kids in this province in every district and school should matter.
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