School lunch hours create unhealthy eating habits - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

School lunch hours create unhealthy eating habits

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, it's recommended that students get at least 20 minutes for lunch. However, that excludes the time it takes waiting in line or walking from class to the cafeteria.

"When they're only given 15 minutes they're probably just shoving food in their mouth," said NEA Baptist Wellness Program Manager Jennifer Martinez. "They're not really tasting the food, they're not chewing it properly which can lead to digestion problems and they don't know if their stomach is completely full."

Westside Middle School Principal, Pam Dooley said due to state requirements, there's only so much time in the day to fit everything in.

"We have a six hour day and we have so many mandates from the state that we're required to have P.E. for so many minutes, and we have to teach everything else," she said. "It's really hard to carve out five to ten minutes longer."

Martinez feels this is an issue that the government needs to look into.

"I know that teachers do what they can, they try and get them out there as much as possible when they have any off time," she said. "I know they're doing the best they can with what they've been given but I think the government should rethink it in general."

Dooley said their lunch time does give students time to finish eating, but Martinez said the issue is not finishing lunch but rather finishing it in a healthy manner.

"Mindful eating is sitting down for your meal, completely tasting it, chewing your food thoroughly and given the full 20 minutes for your stomach to digest the meal," Martinez said.

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