- The largest federally funded study of American teenagers found a strong link between regular family meals and academic success. Eating dinner together also led to improved psychological health, as well as lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse, early sexual activity and suicide.
- A 2005 Columbia University study found that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to get better grades and less likely to have substance abuse problems. In fact, the Univ of Michigan found that family mealtime is the single greatest predictor of improved achievement — more than studying, sports or other school activities.
- A study of preschoolers found that mealtime conversations helped to build vocabulary more effectively than listening to stories or even reading aloud.
- Eating together as a family also appears to decrease the likelihood of teenagers developing eating disorders. Research conducted in Minnesota found that adolescent girls who ate with their families at least five times a week were at far less risk for anorexia and bulimia than girls who didn't.
So, if your family has fallen out of the habit of sitting down together on a regular basis, what's the best way to get started again? Take it one night at a time. Don't set yourself up for failure by trying to go from rarely eating together to dining as a family for seven nights in a row. Set aside one or two nights and protect them with great fervor.
When we eat together, we're nourishing more than our bodies.
excerpt from an article by Jim Daly of Focus on the Family click here to read entire article