Family meals positively affect teens


Alison Cayne

Eating any kind of meal with family helps one to decompress after a long day. The what, where, and when are not important, as long as it happens.

Kathryn Stratz, Staff Writer

When was the last time you sat down with your family and ate dinner with them?

If it’s been a while, consider the benefits.

Dinner time is an opportunity to take a breath and forget about whatever is happening in life, whether it be work, friends, homework, or an APUSH test the next day.

It is also a great excuse to sit down with one’s family and talk about each other’s days and lives. Times like this help connect families and lessen stress in a household, especially for teenagers.

According to a study published in 2004 by the American Medical Association (AMA), “Frequency of family meals was inversely associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use; low grade point average; depressive symptoms; and suicide involvement after controlling for family connectedness.”

The ability to communicate within a family creates support for teenagers due to keeping them on the same page and up to date. Also, parents are able to check in with their children, who often live tremendously busy lives.

Teens who tend to struggle in school have been proven to do better if they regularly hold family dinners.

Young people whose families routinely eat meals together spend more time on homework and reading for pleasure”

— Study by the American Medical Association

“Young people whose families routinely eat meals together spend more time on homework and reading for pleasure,” according to an AMA study.

Family meal times also create a healthy relationship between teens and food. It has been proven that teens are less likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder if they participate in this daily activity.

According to a 2008 study by Health Psychol, the risk of developing bulimia, anorexia, and other unealthy eating habits is much lower for teenagers who are regularly eating with their family, and most likely have a better stance with food.

Keep in mind, the term “family” does not mean having a cookie-cutter picture of a mom, dad, older sister, and younger brother. It means anything from a single parent, grandparents, two moms, two dads, or whatever happens to be in one’s household.

The focus is on connecting with family, which will overall improve teenagers’ lives by creating a constant in their lives.