To celebrate the publication of Proceedings of the Learning Connection Summit: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Student Achievement, I’m offering a short daily post during February on the ABCs of the health and academics.
R is for RECESS (Before Lunch)
Physical activity at RECESS is good for kids brains (and their bodies) for the same reasons as walking/biking to school and PE classes are. According to the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on The Crucial Role of Recess in School:
“… safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
RECESS before lunch has been shown to have some additional very important benefits. When children are active before coming to the cafeteria, they eat better and behave better. Studies show that they actually eat more entrée, vegetables and fruits – and drink more milk. When kids rush through lunch so they can run out to play, lots of food goes into the garbage can and students are short-changed on afternoon fuel. Breakfast helps children learn in the morning, but lunch is just as necessary for afternoon classes.
I’m proud to say that Montana Team Nutrition has been real leader in RECESS Before Lunch, publishing both A Guide to Success and research: Scheduling Recess Before Lunch: Exploring the Benefits and Challenges in Montana Schools.