Students Consuming Sack Lunches Devote More Time to Eating Than Those Consuming School Lunches

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Family and Consumer Sciences

Publication Date



Concern has been raised about the amount of time provided for students to consume school lunch. This study analyzed the amount of time used by elementary students to consume school lunch vs sack lunch. Data collectors used stop watches to collect wait time, opportunity time to eat and consumption time for elementary students consuming school lunch, sack lunch, and sack lunch with a separate milk purchase. Students consuming school lunch had a significantly longer wait time than those consuming sack lunch or sack lunch with milk (P<.0001). In contrast, students consuming sack lunch and sack lunch with milk had significantly longer opportunity times to eat (P<.0001) and consumption times (P<.001). There was also a significant decrease in opportunity time to eat and consumption time as grade level increased, particularly in boys (P<.05). Older boys appeared more anxious to finish eating so they could go out to recess.


This article was originally published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of the American Dietetic Association


Copyright © 2002 American Dietetic Association.