The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

A McMillen Center Project—Year 1: Make It A Habit

Sitting down to eat together, at least three times per week, makes a positive impact on your family.

Chances are, you grew up eating dinner every night with your family.  But, over the past 30 years family meals have declined by 33%.  Many of us viewed the family meal as having gone the way of the rotary phone – a nostalgic part of our past.  We reasoned that our modern lives don’t leave room for the family meal.  We have fuller schedules than our parents did and have more activities and gadgets vying for our time.  Sure, Mom and Grandma could make dinner every night, what else did they have to do? (Don’t let your Mom see that comment!)
It turns out that although we may gladly leave our old rotary phones behind, family meals had benefits we weren’t aware of – benefits our children need.  Just three family meals per week can strengthen and connect your family.  Strong families create children who are better able to resist drugs, alcohol, and early sexual activity.  Family meals help to develop children who get better grades and are less likely to attempt suicide.  These are benefits all parents want – so let’s start eating together more! 
The Family Table seeks to educate families about the benefits of family meals and to increase the number of meals families eat together.  It doesn’t have to be dinner – family meals have benefits whenever they are eaten.  Let’s eat breakfast together, eat out as a family at a restaurant, or bring home that take out pizza and eat it together at the family table!  Maybe our family meals won’t look like our mother’s did, but we can still reap the same benefits.
The Family Table is a project of the non-profit McMillen Center for Health Education.  Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the McMillen Center has been spreading the message of good health since 1981.  Each year we serve nearly 40,000 youth and adults nationwide – to date, the Center has provided fact-based health information and education to over 1.5 million children and adults.


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