Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Power of Eating Dinner Together

Last year we posted an article on our website about the latest study from CASA, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. In that study, research showed teens in families that eat together 4-5 times a week are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. One part of the study points out that when a family eats together, it offers an informal and less threatening way for parents to get involved in their children's lives. 

One of our goals at PieFection, part of our mission if you will, is to create a way for families who are pressed for time to have meals together, to facilitate this exchange of thoughts and daily activities between parent and child.

We found another article in the Winter 2009 BYU Magazine that offers supporting research and insight into how eating dinner together also benefits the parents. The following are some excerpts from "Making Dinner Together Time". 

When Jenet I. Jacob (BS ’97) was growing up in Orem, Utah, her mother was adamant that the family sit down together for dinner every night. “Even if I wasn’t going to eat, she would say, ‘Sorry, part of being a Jacob is that you come sit with us,’” she says.

Over the years she thought a lot about her mother’s dogged insistence. Why should dinner matter so much when the family was together plenty of other times? Jacob concluded that her mother knew intuitively what researchers now know through scientific study—that something as simple as family dinner can have powerful benefits.

“Some researchers call it the ‘family sacrament,’ and it really is that important,” says Jacob, now a family scientist in BYU’s School of Family Life.

The benefits of family dinner for children have been well documented, but after recently completing a study of IBM workers, Jacob and BYU colleague E. Jeffrey Hill (BA ’77), associate family life professor, now tell us that family dinner benefits parents as well, especially parents who work outside the home.

“If you’re able to make it home for dinner, you feel less conflict with work intruding on your family life and you feel more in control of things—and that translates into a feeling of success,” says Jacob.

Researchers began reporting the benefits of family dinner about a decade ago, focusing mainly on how it affected children. Studies show that children in families that eat dinner together at least three times a week have better grades, lower rates of addiction, less depression, healthier eating habits, and fewer eating disorders.

But still, only about one-third of American children actually eat dinner with their families regularly. The obstacles are many, with parents’ long working hours at the top of the list. Jacob and Hill cite research showing that tension between work and family life is a significant problem for many people, and they wondered whether family routines and rituals would make a difference. Drawing on family resilience theory, which investigates strategies families use to adapt to stress, they hypothesized that regular family dinner would help offset the negative effects of long working hours. Hill had helped create an extensive survey taken by 41,769 IBM employees, and he got permission to use portions of the data.

-Enjoy the entire article at http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2355
-For the article we posted last year, go to http://www.piefection.com/savetheworld.html

1 comment:

Steven and Wendy OBryant said...

very good! how do i send emails to my friends to check out piefection.com? I'll look on the website and see if I can figure it out.