ARLINGTON – September 26, 2011 – Today, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation is joining forces with The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA* Columbia) to celebrate Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM. FMI’s supermarket retailer and wholesaler members nationwide will launch initiatives to share with America’s families the importance of eating meals together.

Launched by CASA Columbia in 2001, Family Day is a national movement encouraging parents to frequently eat dinner with their kids and be involved in their children’s lives. CASA Columbia’s research consistently finds that the more often kids eat dinner with their families; the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. Those kids are also more likely to make better grades in school and to say they have an excellent relationship with their parents and they are less likely to have friends who smoke, drink or use drugs.

“The supermarket industry supports this important focus on bringing families together around the dinner table” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of FMI and president of the FMI Foundation. “Families engaged in sharing a meal together reap the benefits of shared lives and shared support; and if they make half their plates fruits and vegetables, shared nutritional advantages. We encourage parents to take the Family Day Pledge at”

“America's drug problem is not going to be solved in courtrooms or legislative hearing rooms by judges and politicians. It will be solved in living rooms and dining rooms and across kitchen tables – by parents and families,” says Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia’s Chairman and Founder and the former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Family dinners and the communication that occurs over the course of a meal are critical in building a relationship with your children and to understanding the world in which they live. Parents, frequent family dinners make a difference!”

According to CASA Columbia’s report The Importance of Family Dinners VII, compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five-to-seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are:

  • Four times as likely to have used tobacco

  • More than twice as likely to have used alcohol

  • Two and a half times likelier to have used marijuana

The Food Marketing Institute is committed to strengthening families and believes that celebrating Family Day is an important first step in helping to provide a substance free youth for America’s children and teens.
For additional information about Family Day, visit

*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as "CASA”) or any of its member organizations, or any other organizations with the name of "CASA".


Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers — in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters of all retail food store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from more than 50 countries. FMI’s associate members include the supplier partners of its retail and wholesale members.

About CASA Columbia
CASA Columbia is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat abuse of all substances—alcohol, nicotine, illegal, prescription and performance enhancing drugs—in all sectors of society. Founded in 1992 by former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia and its staff of some 60 professionals aim to inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives, find out what works in prevention and treatment of this disease, and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.

CASA Columbia has issued 75 reports and white papers, published three books, conducted demonstration programs focused on children, families and schools in 36 states and Washington, D.C., held 19 conferences, and has been evaluating drug and alcohol treatment and prevention programs to determine what works best for what individuals. The most recent CASA Columbia book, How To Raise a Drug Free Kid: The Straight Dope for Parents by Joseph A. Califano, Jr., a practical, user friendly book of advice and information for parents, is widely available in paperback. For more information visit