While schools are looking to ban recess across the nation, a new study shows that outdoor playtime might be even more important than we thought. A study published in Preventative Medicine has found that if children are given recess before lunch, they are a lot more likely to consume fruits and vegetables during the actual meal.
During the controlled study, which compared healthy lunch consumption both before and after recess at seven schools in Utah, researchers determined that fruit and vegetable consumption increased by 54 percent when children had recess first. Researchers hypothesize that if lunch comes before recess, kids will rush through the lunch part in anticipation of the “treat” (playing games of tag outside), and skip over the important parts of a healthy, well-balanced meal.
The study also found that children were less likely to waste food overall after a half hour of recess.
"It's not always what's on the tray that matters," researcher Joseph Price told USA Today. "Sometimes it's what you were doing before or after lunch that makes the difference."