Want Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies? Make Recess Before Lunch
A new study has shown a simple, no-cost trick to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption by as much as 54%—switching recess to before lunch in elementary schools.
“Participants were 1st–6th grade students from three schools that switched recess from after to before lunch and four similar schools that continued to hold recess after lunch. We collected data for an average of 14 days at each school (4 days during spring 2011, May 3 through June 1, 2011 and 9 days during fall 2011, September 19 through November 11, 2011). All of the schools were in Orem, Utah. Data was collected for all students receiving a school lunch and was based on observational plate waste data. [source]
“Recess is a pretty big deal for most kids. If you have kids choose between playing and eating their veggies, the time spent playing is going to win most of the time”
– Joseph Price, BYU
After analyzing 22,939 data points, the researchers concluded that in the schools that switched recess to before lunch children ate 54% more fruits and vegetables. There was also a 45% increase in those eating at least one serving of fruits and vegetables. During the same time period consumption of fruits and vegetables actually decreased in the schools that didn’t switch.
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