A new study reveals that primary schools are not giving children enough time to eat the food in their lunch boxes.
Children require at least 15 minutes to finish their lunch, according to Deakin University experts, but most primary schools only give students 10 minutes before allowing them to go outside to play.
Dr Claire Margerison and Dr Melissa Burton, who are the lead authors of the research showed that if children would be given more time to eat, they would more likely to finish the meal that have been packed by their parents.
"With less time to eat, children are more inclined to prioritise* the most enticing foods in their lunch box, such as desserts, which are frequently nutrient* deficient," Dr Burton explained. "These findings have implications* not only for children's health but also for their capacity to learn, as research shows that healthy nutrition is essential for academic success."
The findings, according to Dr Margerison, demonstrated a misunderstanding between parents and teachers about who should be accountable for encouraging healthy eating and who should supervise* the contents of their children's lunch boxes.
"About half of the parents and teachers polled agreed that solely parents and children should decide what food they consume at school," she said, "while a quarter of parents and a third of teachers thought that schools should be responsible for monitoring food brought from home."
"Because children spend so much time at school, the borders between what is the job of the parent and what is the obligation of the teacher are often blurred, and these research findings clearly highlight some of those grey areas," she added.
Dr Burton cautioned against depending on teachers for dietary advice, despite the fact that most parents were open to suggestions about what foods should be brought to school.
"Teachers don't have nutrition degrees, so it's difficult to know what's in processed foods," she explained.
"What is apparent, however, is that giving children an extra five minutes to eat their lunch will be a really positive move that may improve their capacity to focus on their studies."
Ten Minutes To Munch Lunch Not Enough Time, Kids Spot News Australia