Academy Endorses Healthy Meal Time Act

12/18/2019 - The Academy is proud to endorse the Healthy Meal Time Act, which was introduced yesterday by Reps. Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08) and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01). This legislation would provide schools with best practices for scheduling lunch and recess to ensure that students have enough time to eat and reduce food waste.

As cited in a press release from Rep. Schrier's office, a study featured in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that "lunch periods of at least 25 minutes were found to improve students' nutritional intake and limit food waste." To help determine best practices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (with input from the Department of Education) will complete a study to gather success stories from schools across the country.

In her office's press release, Rep. Schrier stated:

"As a pediatrician, I know how important it is for children to eat healthy foods and get some energy out at recess. But the schedule most schools use puts lunch before recess. Students rush through lunch to get to recess. Some skip lunch because of long lines. Putting recess first makes time for both, and evidence shows they eat even more food and healthier options if they've had a chance to run around outside before lunch. It makes sense that children should build up an appetite first before lunch. That way they are able to focus on school and not worry about being hungry later in the day."

In the same press release, Rep. Bonamici, Chair of the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, shared:

"Lunch is critical for the health and well-being of students because it gives them the nutrition they need to reach their full potential. I'm pleased to be working with Congresswoman Schrier on the Healthy Meal Time Act to support long-overdue research, guidance, and best practices for schools to boost learning with appropriate meal times."