We at Sip & Savor frequently blog about the importance of physical activity as a means to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. New research published in Pediatrics shows that for our nation’s school children, recess not only provides an opportunity for necessary exercise but also promotes emotional and cognitive development. This information is alarming considering that, according to research published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, only three states – Delaware, Virginia and Nebraska – mandate 20 minutes of recess a day.
According to co-researcher Dr. Robert Murray, a pediatrician and professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, “children need to have downtime between complex cognitive challenges. They tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task. It’s not enough to just switch from math to English. You actually have to take a break.”
Furthermore, lead researcher Catherine Ramstetter, a health educator at Cincinnati’s Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences further states that, “recess should be used as a complement to physical education classes, not a substitute.”
Our industry certainly understands the unique role the school environment plays in helping children learn how to lead a healthy life, and we are doing our part. Through our national School Beverage Guidelines, we drove a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools. We also support “Let’s Move in School,” an initiative of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) that ensures “every school provides a comprehensive school physical activity program with quality physical education as the foundation so that youth will develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.”
Through these meaningful programs, our industry is taking real action to help children maintain healthy and active lifestyles.