The National Family Meals Month™ movement continues to proliferate with innovative approaches to bringing the importance of family meals alive to the consumer. Even states are getting into the act, with eight states, and counting, proclaiming September National Family Meals Month™!
Since its inception in 2015, FMI’s National Family Meals Month™ has exceeded expectations, with numerous community-level activations that have taken the movement well outside of retail walls. Perhaps one of the most interesting campaign offshoots has been the initiative taken by food retailers and state grocery and retail associations resulting in states making a personal commitment to the family meals movement. To date, eight states have proclaimed September as National Family Meals Month™. This effort has served to boost awareness of the campaign and all the benefits offered by families consuming more frequent meals together, at home.
There is compelling evidence in support of making a state-level proclamation in the name of family meals!
Research shows that family meals have numerous health and societal benefits for everyone who eats together:
- Children and teens who eat more meals with their family are more successful in school and are less likely to participate in risky behaviors1
Frequent family meals increase self-esteem and positive social behaviors2
- Meals at home tend to be healthier3 and fewer meals eaten out leads to healthier children4
- Meals at home are associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI)5
- Meals prepared and eaten at home are more economical6
From the campaign, consumers learn about the benefits family meals can have on many aspects of health from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood:
- 85 percent expressed importance in eating more meals together as a family vs. 64% who had not seen the campaign7
- Those who have participated in the campaign feel that it is a good concept (51 percent), is informative (35 percent), and provided new ideas (28 percent).7 Consumers are making healthier choices and spending more time together as a family by cooking more meals at home (42 percent), eating together more (36 percent), making healthier choices (36 percent), buying more fruits & veggies (35 percent), using new recipes (33 percent), and planning more meals (26 percent)7
From 2017 to 2018 alone, consumers who saw the National Family Meals Month campaign jumped from 13 percent in to 28 percent (a 115 percent increase) 7! Further, in just one year, the campaign saw a 33 percent increase in those saying they are eating together more as a family! 7
Will your state be next?
There is a Toolkit for that! Join Michigan, Utah, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in being the next state to proclaim September as National Family Meals Month™.
Family meals lead to healthier families. Healthy families are a bi-partisan issue, and a win-win for all! To get started on proclaiming September as Family Meals Month in your state, use this sample proclamation language. For more information about National Family Meals Month™, visit www.fmifamilymeals.com and learn more about FMI’s State Affairs Work.
- The Importance of Family Dinners VIII, A CASAColumbia™ White Paper (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University). Sep 2012.
- Kerner, Susanne, Cynthia Chou, and Morten Warmind, eds., Commensality: From Everyday Food to Feast (Bloomsburg Academic, 2015).
- Fulkerson, Jayne A., Nicole Larson, Melissa Horning, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer. “A review of associations between family or shared meal frequency and dietary and weight status outcomes across the lifespan.” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 46, no. 1 (Jan 2014): 2-19. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2013.07.012.
- Altman, Myra, Jodi Cahill Holland, Delaney Lundeen, Rachel P. Kolko, Richard I. Stein, Brian E. Saelens, R. Robinson Welch, Michael G. Perri, Kenneth B. Schechtman, Leonard H. Epstein, Denise E. Wilfley. “Reduction in food away from home is associated with improved child relative weight and body composition outcomes and this relation is mediated by changes in diet quality.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115, no. 9 (Sep 2015): 1400-1407.doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.03.009.
- Incorporating Away-from-Home Food into a Healthy Eating Plan, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dec 2008.
- Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors. The Hartman Group. 2013.
- National Family Meals Month: Campaign Results, Nielsen/Harris Online survey and analysis for FMI. Sept 2018