School Lunch Time Should Be Longer

                   School lunch time should be longer than it is now. Currently, students only have 30 minutes for lunch. The school may not want to increase the amount of time for lunch because they don’t want to increase the length of the school day but they are overlooking the many benefits that a longer lunch period would bring.

                Students always complain about the amount of time they have for their school lunch. The short lunch period keeps the students busy. While the school thinks that 30 minutes of lunch time is enough for students to eat, they are forgetting about the length of the lines at the cafeteria. If it has long lines, the students may have to rush with only have a few minutes to eat once they get through the line and to their table; so their food does not  get settled. Eating faster is harmful for students’ bodies, and eating faster also makes students get fat more easily because their bodies do not have time to start digesting what they’ve already eaten before more is consumed.  From eating slower, the average percentage of overweight students will decrease, and the percentage of healthy teens will increase. If students have more lunch time, then they will eat more slowly and, even if they are stuck in a long line, they will still have enough time to eat. The students will be healthier if the school has a longer lunch period.

                Longer lunch time also helps students have enough time to rest. Good rest can help students prepare for afternoon classes and increase learning efficiency. A one hour lunch time would be perfect for us. We could spend 45 minutes eating and then still have 15 minutes of resting time.

                One of my friends has B lunch, and one day the lunch line was very long. By the time she got her food and sat down to eat there were only 10 minutes left. So she ate quickly and then came back to class. She had an important test during sixth period, and she is an “A “student, but during the test, her stomach hurt and on that test she got a “C.”  During her seventh period, she felt that she couldn’t concentrate very well because her stomach hurt and she hadn’t gotten a good rest after lunch.

                Students’ social health also increases when they have a longer period of time for lunch. American students are so busy at school; passing periods are only six minutes, and in class students must be focused on the teacher. So they only get to actually talk to their friends or make new friends during lunch time. But with the short time there is for lunch, they must spend it eating so it decreases the social health for teenagers. The primary purpose of school is for study, but it also provides a huge communication center so that students spend the day with other teens and learn to interact with other people in preparation for the rest of their lives. More time to meet and be in contact with friends keeps the student’s health triangle in balance.

                For example, in China, students have 2 hours for lunch. They typically eat lunch at home and after lunch they have time to rest or sleep. This means that they have enough energy for afternoon class and also have a high learning efficiency. If students don’t want to sleep, then after lunch they come to school playground to play with other students. This helps the students to increase their social health. American students think, and educational studies support, that Chinese students are good at math and science. Math and science are challenging subjects and one of the reasons Chinese students excel in these classes is because Chinese students have a healthy and scientific life way. They are ready for every challenge and have enough energy to beat the challenge – all day long.

                One of the biggest obstacles to a longer lunch period would be the concern that a longer lunch period would lengthen the time of a school day. Right now we have three lunch periods of 30 minutes each; for a total of one and a half hours. By lengthening the lunch period to one hour each, we could reduce the number of lunch periods to just an  A and a B lunch, meaning overall, lunch would only require an extra half hour of time in the day to get through. This half hour could be made up for by shortening each class period by just 5 minutes – not a very big loss considering the benefits to the student’s health and concentration. Concerns about only two lunch periods resulting in even longer lines so students still do not have time to eat would be put to rest easily as the longer lunch period would allow the lunches to be open so many students would be able to go home or out to eat instead of eating in the school cafeteria.

                A longer period of time for lunch is beneficial to a student’s physical, academic and social health. The school should give students a longer lunch period. Students would benefit from the time to relax after their first four busy classes and being able to unwind with friends. The incidence of overeating and the negative physical effects of this would decrease and students would have the energy and focus to do better in their studies. Americans rush through everything in life from the time they are small children; could rushing through lunch and not having the time to relax and recharge be one of the reasons why American students lag behind the students of so many other countries in their test results and also why America has so many problems with childhood obesity compared to other nations?

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