Survey: 20 percent of schools give kids less than 20 minutes for lunch

It's back to school time, and there's growing concern that children may not have enough time to eat lunch.

According to a recent survey, more than 20% of public schools are giving children less than 20 minutes to eat.

California moms Deb Snell and Marianna Bedetii noticed that their children wouldn't eat the lunches they packed and decided to get to the bottom of it.

"When I picked up my children at the end of the day and saw them coming out, they came out directly to me. I'm starving," Bedetii said.

When they visited the school, they found out that their kids only had 15 minutes to eat lunch -- and 18 children were standing in the lunch line when the bell rang that day.

Shell created a petition to address this time concern, which has garnered over 1,400 signatures.

Experts said these short lunches exist all over the country: About 20 percent of schools reported that they had 20 minutes or less for their school lunch period, according to a national survey.

The negative effects of this short time to eat a balanced meal can be widespread, including reduced ability to focus, lower energy levels, and less impulse control.

To combat this, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending students have at least 20 minutes of seated time.

In a statement, Berkeley Unified School District said,

"At the elementary schools, we have 40 minutes for lunch and recess. The amount of time for lunch may vary between sites, depending in part upon recess timing.

We are working with our Principals, teachers and departments to determine the specific issues at each site, so that we have a realistic idea of what it could take to make any necessary adjustments."

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