By: Sue Borra, RD, Chief Health and Wellness Officer & Executive Director, FMI Foundation and Elizabeth Tansing, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Food Marketing Institute
Each September, the food retail industry rallies around National Family Meals Month™(NFMM), an industry-wide movement to raise awareness of the many benefits of frequent family meals and to encourage one more family meal at home per week. During the month, food retailers, suppliers and community collaborators implement creative programming to bring attention to the benefits of shared mealtimes and highlight solutions to make family meals more successful.
A unique way for State Grocery and Retail Associations to support this cause is to have your state proclaim September as Family Meals Month. Beyond benefits to consumers, NFMM helps the food retail industry encourage consumers to have more meals with their family using foods from their favorite grocery store.
There are many benefits to eating more family meals at home. Research shows that:
- children and teens who eat more meals with their family are more successful in school;
- with each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likes to engage in risky behavior;
- meals at home tend to be healthier;
- meals at home are associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI); and
- meals prepared and eaten at home are more economical.
- In Michigan, a resolution which received a significant amount of bipartisan support was approved by the state legislature last fall.
- Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed a declaration in 2014 supporting Family Meals Month. In fact, the Utah Department of Health launched a website that provides recipes and healthy eating tips.
Promoting Family Meals Month is a win-win opportunity – healthy families are a bi-partisan issue, and it is a great way to work together with your neighborhood grocery store.
From the campaign, consumers learn the many benefits of shared mealtimes. Of those shoppers who saw the NFMM programing in 2017, 84 percent said they took action. The top actions from families with children reported eating together more often (49 percent), purchasing more fruits and vegetables (44 percent) and cooking more meals at home (42 percent). (Nielsen 2017).
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 States Affairs work.