Overwhelming Data


According to Food Marketing Institute, the studies show again and again the significant, measurable scientific proof about the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals.  Family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members.

  • Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem and delayed sexual activity. 
  • Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect. 
  • With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
  • Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity.
  • Increased family meals are associated with greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

The danger of fewer family meals is real.

A significant study on the relationship between certain family characteristics and adolescent problem behaviors, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are:  

  • 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or to have used illegal drug other than marijuana or prescription drugs. 
  • 3 times more likely to have used marijuana. 
  • More than 2.5 times more likely to have used tobacco. 

Need More Data?

Power of Family Meals 2017 

In this white paper produced for the Food Marketing Institute Foundation by The Hartman Group, the desires, barriers, and directions for shared meals at home are identified and explored. 

  • 88% of U.S. adults say they eat healthier at home than when they eat out
  • 74% of parents specifically want their food stores to assist them with family meals
  • Differing schedules are the lead obstacle to dinner at home in households with and without children
  • Serving meals that children will enjoy and ensuring that everyone is home at dinnertime are the top steps being taken to eat with kids more often
  • Household living arrangements today in the U.S. represent a new family diversity

Download Report

The Monday Campaigns Shares Advice from A Top Nutritionist in Promotion of Family Meals 

In this Huffington Post article, Diane K. Rice, RD of the Monday Campaigns shares why one of the nation’s leading health influencers, Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD supports The Kids Cook Monday campaign. Read Rice’s article and explore the many links to research supporting the benefits of family meals from trusted sources like Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

The Surprising Power of Family Meals 

In her recent book, author Miriam Weinstein asks this question: “What if I told you that there was a magic bullet—something that would improve the quality of your daily life, your children’s chances of success in the world, [and] your family’s health? Something that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and within the reach of pretty much everyone?  You guessed it—the answer is family meals.”  Read a summary of Weinstein’s book courtesy of the University of Florida, including tips to inspire family meal promotion ideas. 

The Family-Building Benefits of Frequent Family Dinners 

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, children who have frequent meals with their families are likely to do better in school, have a closer relationship with parents and siblings, resist negative peer pressure, are less likely to try drugs or alcohol at an earlier age and less likely to develop disordered eating behaviors.  

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