Recess before Lunch Is Better, Study Finds

March 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. recess /rɪˈsɛs, ˈri sɛs/ (n.) – a break
Example: They played hide and seek during recess.

2. elementary /ˌɛl əˈmɛn tə ri, -tri skul/ (n.) – the basic level of education
Example: My eight year old brother is in elementary school.

3. dispose of /dɪˈspoʊz ʌv, ɒv / (v. phrase) – to throw away or get rid of something
Example: The kids dispose of their trash properly.

4. tally /ˈtæl i/ (v.) – to record and calculate something
Example: The researchers tallied the types of vegetables given to the students.

5. playground /ˈpleɪˌgraʊnd/ (n.) – an area where children can play
Example: The kids go to the playground every afternoon.


Read the text below.
A study recommends that having recess before lunch makes elementary school students eat more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers from the Cornell University suggest that changing the meal schedules helps in getting the students to eat the fruits and vegetables required in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The NSLP is a government-assisted meal program in the United States that requires schools to increase their servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and to reduce fats and sodium in the kids’ food. The researchers’ 2013 study showed that the kids ignore and dispose of about 70% of the fruits and vegetables served. 

To test their theory, the researchers observed students from seven elementary schools in Utah. Three schools were asked to move the students’ recess period before lunch. The other four schools kept its usual recess period. The research assistants tallied the students’ eating habits by monitoring almost 23,000 food trays. The assistants observed which food the kids threw away by staying near the trash cans in campus.

Results showed that students who took recess before lunch had 54% higher consumption of fruits and vegetables than those who had recess after lunch. Additionally, the number of students who ate at least one fruit or vegetable grew by 10% upon changing the recess schedule.

According to the study, the kids’ desire to spend their lunch break playing games led to less eating time. Students who took recess first were able to spend time in the school playground before lunch break. Thus, students spent longer time eating during lunch break. The researchers noted that the kids who took lunch first often hurry finishing their entrees and threw away their fruits and vegetables.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can you suggest so that students will eat fruits and vegetables? 
·         Why do you think the students dislike fruits and vegetables?

Discussion B

·         How important is it for kids to have a balanced diet?
·         Which do you prefer—a packed lunch or meals sold in cafeterias? Kindly explain.

March 27, 2015