They feed our minds, bodies and souls – and not just because our moms told us so. We know this is true because we have decades of scientific studies that prove it.
Perhaps it may not come as a surprise to you that people who eat more family meals together eat more fruits and vegetables, and have better diets in general. But did you know that family meals improve family connectedness, communication, expressiveness and problem solving too?
There has never been a more important time in our living history to keep ourselves and our loved ones physically and emotionally fit. Family meals help with both.
The FMI Foundation created this website to show you:
HOW people are benefiting from family meals
WHY to continue having them
No matter how you define your family, we hope the information on these pages helps you to Stay Strong with Family Meals.
In 2020, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) built on years of previous research. It employed the most comprehensive approach to date to explore the direction and magnitude of exposure to family meals and dietary and family functioning outcomes in children. It encompassed a systematic review as well as a meta-analysis of all relevant studies published in a peer reviewed journal in English prior to December 2018. In short, it provides definitive proof of the value of family meals.
There are two notable findings to this study:
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 more frequent family dinners (more than three per week) are:
less likely to have abused prescription drugs or to have used an
illegal drug other than marijuana or prescription drugs
less likely to have used marijuana
less likely to have used tobacco
less likely to have used alcohol
The numerous research studies referenced on this website provide the scientific proof that family meals are good for us. Perhaps the most extraordinary proof in the pudding to the benefits of family meals became apparent when COVID-19 turned our worlds upside down.
When we were six months into the crisis, we discovered that Americans were using family meals to stay strong – physically and emotionally – during the global pandemic. Better yet, they planned to continue this positive practice when the world returns to a new normal.
We know this because the FMI Foundation has been tracking it. In fact, we developed a tool to track it – the “Staying Strong with Family Meals” Barometer. This barometer is a recurring quantitative study with nationally representative sample of consumers. This effort began in August 2020 and is being updated frequently with tracking data.
This barometer shows us how the global pandemic fundamentally has changed the family meals landscape. For example, the latest data reveals that Americans are cooking more with their families and having more family meals. Specifically:
The will to return to the table exists, but families need a friendly, familiar voice to show them the way. That voice is food retail, and the way is the National Family Meals Movement.
Join us in making a difference during National Family Meals Month™ this September.