Dinner: Most Important Meal

From the November 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

Statistics reveal that the family dinner is the most important meal of the day—for many reasons. Sadly, statistics also show that this all-important family meal is on the way out.

According to the Opinion Journal, “Fewer than one third of all children sit down to eat dinner with both parents on any given night” (July 29). In today’s age of convenience and both parents working, this meal is easily replaced with fast food, frozen dinners and take-out.

A recent study released by the Harvard Medical School reports that the chances of being overweight are 15 percent lower among those who eat dinner with their family on “most days” or “every day” (ibid.). This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the on-the-go diet.

But the importance of family dinners extends far beyond physical health. Another study, from Columbia University, found that “teens from families that almost never eat dinner together are 72 percent more likely to use illegal drugs, cigarettes and alcohol than the average teen” (ibid.). That same study reports that those who eat dinner with their parents fewer than three times a week are more likely to smoke and drink than those who eat with their parents six times a week.

Dinner time provides a rare opportunity for the whole family to gather and converse about the day. It provides the occasion for parents to get involved in their children’s lives and build a strong family bond that children can lean on for the rest of their lives. Dinner time can help build close families. Make it a vital part of your family life. Don’t neglect the most important meal of the day.