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Research Reveals: Teenagers with Family Mealtime Routines Less Likely to Have Substance Abuse Problems


NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia March, 2013 – Family mealtime routines may offer more positive benefits than meets the eye. According to a Columbia University survey, teenagers who grow up with regular family mealtimes and eat with their families at least five times a week are more likely to eat vegetables, do well in school, and are less likely to have substance abuse problems.

Joanne Turner, Mumpreneur and Author of ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’, speaks out on the importance of eating together as a family and how managing family mealtimes with kids can affect their growth – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Joanne relates, “Studies show that the family dinner hour is an important part of healthy living. When families dine together, they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits – and fewer fried foods, soft drinks, and foods with trans fats. Younger kids who frequently eat dinner with their family are less likely to be overweight than other children. We can see how that can change in the teenage years, when they’re less likely to eat at home.”

In her book ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’ Joanne cites a study made by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in the US, also known as CASA. The group conducted a study in 1996 to identify the differences, if any, between children who engaged in substance abuse from those who did not. The study found that when it came to predicting substance abuse behaviour, eating dinner with the family was more important than going to church or getting good grades at school.

Since then, CASA has run variations of this survey every year. In 2003, the study revealed that, when compared with teens who dined with the family only twice a week, those who had family meals five or more times per week were more likely to report that they had never tried cigarettes (85 per cent vs. 65 per cent), alcohol (68 per cent vs. 47 per cent), or marijuana (88 per cent vs. 71 per cent).

Joanne continues, “Children from families who were managing family mealtimes several times a week were also less likely to suffer high stress and boredom, and more likely to receive A’s in school – now that’s amazing!”

Joanne emphasises, “If there is one eating behaviour I truly believe we should engage in, it is the joy of eating together at the table. Stop the day and take the time to enjoy at least the evening meal. You’ll eat less. You’ll eat better. And you’ll be so satisfied you won’t be searching the pantry to fulfil your empty ‘food spot’ later.”

“Whatever your background, you are now creating your own children’s family history, so make family mealtimes enjoyable precious memories,” says Joanne.
To access expert advice on eating together as a family and many more practical tips from fellow parents, visit today for your FREE copy of ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’.


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