Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
In recent years, some schools have been reducing recess hours — or eliminating it altogether, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for schools to keep schoolyard play. Despite support from the AAP, some elementary schools (like these 23 schools in Florida) are still cutting back on playtime in favor of study time…to meet Common Core standards.
But a new study, published in Preventative Medicine, reveals two great reasons for schools to keep recess: Kids who have recess before lunch are more likely to eat (and finish!) fruits and veggies — which means they’re less likely to waste food.
Researchers studied seven elementary schools (grades 1-6) in Orem, Utah and focused on kids who enrolled in the federally-funded school lunch program (which requires that kids eat either a fruit or veggie). Of the seven schools, three had recess before lunch and four had recess after lunch. Over a few days in the spring and fall of 2011, the researchers measured the serving amount of fruits and vegetables that students threw away in the trash. The scientists recorded a total of 22,939 observations. HealthDay reports:
In the schools that held recess before lunch, students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables rose 54 percent. There also was a 45 percent increase in the number of students who ate at least one serving of fruits and vegetables.
Meanwhile, students’ consumption of fruits and vegetables decreased at the schools that still held recess after lunch.
“[W]e found that if recess is held before lunch, students come to lunch with healthy appetites and less urgency and are more likely to finish their fruits and vegetables,” said David Just, a co-author of the study. On the flip side, when recess is held after lunch, kids are more like to rush through eating (and waste more food) in order to play.
And according to a 2013 Harvard University study, students throw away around $1.2 billion in food every year. This is an astounding number, especially given America’s hunger crisis.
There are also other benefits of keeping recess; other studies have shown that recess promotes physical activity, creative and imaginative play, a readiness to learn, better social skills, and less bullying. Even though one mom has her doubts about having recess before lunch, all the combined factors still make up a good list of reasons why schools should keep recess.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
Image: School lunch tray via Shutterstock
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Child Health, New Research, Trends
Monday, June 2nd, 2014
Infants who are offered a vegetable early in life are more likely to eat it than older children who are first exposed to the vegetable later on, according to research from the University of Leeds. Picky eaters are able to eat more of a vegetable each time they are offered it. Moreover, the study revealed that vegetables do not have to be hidden in other foods for kids to eat them. More from ScienceDaily:
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In the study, which was funded by the EU, the research team gave artichoke puree to 332 children from three countries aged from weaning age to 38 months. During the experiment each child was given between five and 10 servings of at least 100g of the artichoke puree in one of three versions: basic; sweetened, with added sugar; or added energy, where vegetable oil was mixed into the puree.
There was also little difference in the amounts eaten over time between those who were fed basic puree and those who ate the sweetened puree, which suggests that making vegetables sweeter does not make a significant difference to the amount children eat.
Younger children consumed more artichoke than older children. This is because after 24 months children become reluctant to try new things and start to reject foods — even those they previously liked. Among the children, four distinct groups emerged. Most children (40%) were “learners” who increased intake over time. Of the group, 21% consumed more than 75% of what was offered each time and they were called “plate-clearers.” Those who ate less than 10g even by the fifth helping were classified as “non-eaters,” amounting to 16% of the cohort, and the remainder were classified as “others” (23%) since their pattern of intake varied over time. Non-eaters, who tended to be older pre-school children, were the most fussy, the research found.
Globe artichoke was chosen as the sample vegetable because, as part of the research, parents were surveyed and artichoke was one of the least-offered vegetables. NHS guidelines are to start weaning children onto solid foods at six months.
The research has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Image via Shutterstock.
Wednesday, March 6th, 2013
Premenstrual syndrome, which leaves many women retaining water and feeling moody, may be managed by a diet that contains the proper balance between iron and potassium, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. More from The New York Times:
Using data from a larger analysis of women’s health, researchers studied 1,057 women with PMS and 1,968 control subjects. They used questionnaires to establish their nutrient intake, both food and supplements, and established cases of PMS by clinical diagnosis.
After controlling for various health and dietary factors, they found that women in the highest 20 percent for iron intake were about 40 percent less likely to suffer PMS as those in the lowest 20 percent.
The study, published online in The American Journal of Epidemiology, found the opposite effect with potassium. Those in the highest 20 percent of intake had a 46 percent increased risk for PMS compared with those in the lowest 20 percent. There was no risk associated with intake of magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper or sodium.
The senior author, Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts, cautioned women against taking too much iron, or consuming too little potassium, both of which can be harmful. “Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods,” she said, “is a good way to ensure that women are consuming important vitamins and minerals.”
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women ages 19-50 get 18 milligrams of iron each day, and that all adults consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. Iron-rich foods include beef, egg yolks, and dark leafy greens; potassium is found in bananas, baked potatoes (with skin), and white beans.
Image: Dark leafy greens, via Shutterstock
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