Seven Facts that Research Reveals about the Need for Frequent Family Dinners

Bringing the Family Back to the Table

  1. 60 Years Ago, the average dinnertime in America was one and a half hours. Today it is less than 12 minutes.
  2. In the past 20 years, the frequency of family dinners has declined 33 percent, this could be attributed to both parents working and trying to balance the after school activities of multiple children.
  3. Through the past several decades, our world has evolved into an environmental whirlwind of over-booked schedules and over-achieving families that create unrealistic goals of developing our children. As a result, we are faced with the highest rate of American children who are burnt out and tired of living before they graduate from high school.
  4. During 2013 and 2015, researchers found that 49% of American families with school age children eat together at home less than three times a week.
  5. 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:  Twice as likely to use tobacco; nearly twice as likely to use alcohol; and one and a half times likelier to use marijuana.
  6. Compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners per week, those who have fewer than three family dinners per week are nearly twice as likely to report receiving mostly C’s or lower grades in school.
  7. When teens were asked to rate the level of stress in their lives on a scale of one to 10, research reveals nearly half of teens (46 percent) report that they experience high stress (six or higher). Compared to teens who have infrequent family dinners, teens who have dinner with their families at least five times per week are almost one and a half times less likely to report high levels of stress (41 percent vs. 57 percent).

Research Resources for “Bringing the Family Back to the Table”