School lunch hours create unhealthy eating habits

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

"When they're only given15 minutes they're probably just shoving food in their mouth," said NEA BaptistWellness Program Manager Jennifer Martinez. "They're not really tasting thefood, they're not chewing it properly which can lead to digestion problems andthey don't know if their stomach is completely full."

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

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

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

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

Dooley said their lunchtime does give students time to finish eating, but Martinez said the issue isnot finishing lunch but rather finishing it in a healthy manner.

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

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