Limited Time to Eat School Lunch

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The Impact of School Lunch Length on Children’s Health

Although there are some inherited and hormonal reasons of childhood obesity, most of the time it’s caused by kids over eating and not exercising enough. In addition to consuming nutrient rich food and exercising regularly, nutritionists have said that it is important for children to have an adequate amount of time to eat their meals. This is because it takes individuals, to only begin feeling full, about twenty minutes after they begin eating. Thus with a diminutive period of time to eat, it is likely that people will over eat because their bodies don’t recognize they are finish eating within the eating period. Other causes for childhood obesity could be the food they eat when they are in school. In contrast to all of that, majority of what children eat is consumed at other places, not just at school. School meals cannot be to blame for the rapid growth of the students who consume the food. The lack of exercise is also a contributing factor to the weight gain of the children. Some daily excuses that are given are; that children find exercise to be “work” and “too tiring”, it’s not enforced, and they don’t have time to eat healthy or exercise and the oldest excuse in the book: their just too lazy. Moreover childhood obesity as many causes and the likelihood of these causes to be one thing is dubious. With all of the unhealthy aspects of the school lunches served every day to the future generation of this country, it is said that many of the overweight children will not only be overweight but will also have health problems as adults.

How exactly does the time given to eat correlate with children’s weight? It has been scientifically proven that it takes about twenty minutes for the brain to realize that an individual is getting full once he/ she starts eating. It is shown that people, who are given fifteen to twenty minutes to eat, tend to overeat because they don’t feel that they are full. With that being said, most of the children buy extra food and with the short period of time to eat they eat much faster. This implies that a student with more time to eat is less likely to overeat. Also with children, they tend to eat what tastes good, regardless if they are hungry or not. So on top of overeating, children follow what the “trending” food is for that week. So if one friend has French fries than they all must have French fries. At lunch time there are these long lines that go on for miles and friends who talk for days. So there is limited time on eating because of socializing and the ridiculous lines that the children must wait in to get the food. Upon getting the food, they lay their eyes on what is before them and there are about three different green- looking substances and some “mystery” meat from yesterday. Now this food is probably healthy, it more than likely has all of the nutrients that it’s required to have. Children would more than likely eat healthy food that looks appetizing than food that looks like what dogs would eat. Many children ask for food that taste good as well as food that looks good. Eating healthy shouldn’t be a punishment, it should be made easy.

To fully recognize why a short length lunch time could lead to overconsumption, it is important to understand the mechanisms behind eating. When a person eats, nerves in the stomach send a signal to a portion in the brain that controls appetite. That part of the brain, the hypothalamus, relies on the rest of the brain to tell the body to stop eating. The hypothalamus is a small structure that plays a big role in handling information from your autonomic nervous system. The hypothalamus controls eating, hunger, digestion, pituitary gland and hormone release. It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to know that it is feeling full. When there is a short period of time, the body begins to eat quickly, relative to when there is a longer period of time to eat, you pace yourself. As a consequence...
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