The Importance of Family Dinner

by in Food News, January 6, 2012


In my years of practice, I found that many families don’t eat dinner together – or any meal for that matter. A recent study released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University revealed what a big difference family meals make in your children’s lives.

About the Study
Family mealtime has drastically decreased since the 1950’s. Although you may not initially see the connection, family meals play a huge role in your kids’ lives. Yes, it’s important to eat together in order to sit down and catch up on the day, but there’s more to it. The study called The Importance of Family Dinners VI dug deep to see if there was a connection between the frequency of family meals and teen substance abuse. It also explored what teens thought about the concept of family dinners. The results will shock you.

Findings
Compared to teens who eat family dinners 5 to 7 days per week, those who only eat family dinners fewer than 3 per week are:

  • Nearly twice as likely to use alcohol
  • Twice as likely to use tobacco
  • One and a half times more likely to use marijuana

Even scarier is that these teens say they can get their hands on marijuana or prescription drugs in an hour or less!

The study reveals that it’s not the food that’s served during dinner but rather the conversation. Three in four teens reported that they talk about what’s going on in their lives during dinner. The teens interviewed agreed that when they talk to their parents about their daily events, they’re less likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana.

Family Ties
Dinner is a family ritual that kids look forward to. It gives parents the opportunity to model good behavior and encourage their kids in their daily tasks. It also helps create strong bonds within in the family. Teens that frequently eat family dinners are almost three times as likely to say they have an excellent relationship with their mom and three times likelier to say they have an excellent relationship with their dad. One study also found that teen girls who eat family meals regularly had better body images.

Family Day
In 2001 CASA (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) created Family Day—A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children. It’s celebrated on the fourth Monday in September and serves as a reminder to the importance of family dinners.

Conversation Starters
Lost for words at dinner? Here are a few suggested ice breakers.

Daily:

  • Name one high point and one low point in your day.
  • What’s one nice thing you did for someone else today?
  • What’s the first thing you thought about this morning?
  • What’s one thing you’re looking forward to tomorrow?

Weekly:

  • Name 5 healthy things you ate this week.
  • What is one thing you’ve done this week to protect the environment?
  • Which was your favorite family dinner this week?
  • Say one nice thing about the person sitting to your left.


You Might Also Like:

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

TELL US: How often do you eat together as a family?

More posts from .

Similar Posts

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week’s news: Restaurant items shed calories; USDA sprinkles on sobering news about salt intake from sandwiches; and a study sleuths out ...

Comments (206)

  1. The Ships’s Voyages…

    I feel technological know-how just can make it even worse. Now there’s a channel to never ever care, now there wouldn’t be a likelihood for them to discover….

  2. Chat says:

    Developes a Motivating Environment…

    Wow, marvelous blog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The full look of your website is fantastic, let alone the content material!…

  3. Teen Chat says:

    Displays Energy and Vitality…

    Fricking tremendous things here. I’m very happy to peer your post. Thanks so much and i’m having a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?…

  4. Chat says:

    Continuing Laudable Efforts…

    I am continually invstigating online for ideas that can benefit me. Thank you!…

  5. Recent Blogroll Additions…

    I saw this really great post today….

  6. Teen Chat says:

    Anticipating Reactions…

    Yay google is my king helped me to find this outstanding site!…

  7. Souls in the Waves…

    Good Early morning, I just stopped in to visit your website and imagined I would say I enjoyed myself….

  8. shox,free,air max,polo,longchamp…

    Thanks for your post here. One thing I would like to say is that most professional areas consider the Bachelor’s Degree like thejust like the entry level requirement for an online diploma. Though Associate Certifications are a great way to begin, comp…

  9. shox,free,air max,polo,longchamp…

    Thanks for your post right here. One thing I would really like to say is that most professional fields consider the Bachelor’s Degree like thejust like the entry level requirement for an online diploma. Although Associate Diplomas are a great way to s…

  10. Past Failures are Future Successes…

    I have been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i am glad to exhibit that I’ve a very just right uncanny feelin…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>