Health: The Benefits of Recess

A study by researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah suggests that moving recess to before lunchtime is a simple way to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. The study shows that feeding children after recess rather than before “increases per child fruit and veggie consumption by 54% and prompts 45%more students to eat any fruits or vegetables at all.” Researchers think that this is because the children work up more of an appetite after exerting themselves at recess and they are also less rushed while eating because they are preoccupied with the thought of recess. Other prior research has shown that when recess precedes lunch children are calmer while eating and waste less food. Federal guidelines for public schools recently changed to provide lunches with more vegetables and fruits, but the increase alone was not motivating children to actually eat more. Another positive aspect of recess before lunch is that children are less likely to suffer stomach upset after playing on an empty stomach.

Contributor: Johanna Hartman

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