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School Lunch Timing and Children's Physical Activity During Recess: An Exploratory Study

McLoughlin, Gabriella M., Edwards, Caitlyn G., Jones, Alicia, Chojnacki, Morgan R., Baumgartner, Nicholas W., Walk, Anne D., Woods, Amelia M., Graber, Kim C., Khan, Naiman A.
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.5 pp. 616-622
accelerometry, children, cross-sectional studies, energy expenditure, energy intake, experimental design, food intake, health behavior, issues and policy, lunch, milk, physical activity, plate waste, school lunch
To examine the relationship between school lunch timing (before vs after recess) on physical activity (PA) during recess and energy balance and food intake at lunch.A cross-sectional study design was used to examine lunch intake and PA during recess among fourth- and fifth-graders (n = 103) over 5 school days. Lunch and PA were measured using a weighted plate waste technique and accelerometry, respectively.Children who received lunch before recess accumulated lower residual energy (ie, energy intake at lunch minus energy expenditure during recess) and consumed a greater proportion of milk servings. No timing effects were observed for other lunch and PA variables.Lunch intake and activity during recess are related to lunch timing policy. Findings warrant further examination using experimental and quasi-experimental studies to better understand the impact of timing on health behaviors.