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The Importance of Eating Dinner With Your Family

The traditional family dinner -- what many have considered an artifact of the "Leave It to Beaver" era -- may be making a comeback.

The article focuses on decade-long research conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University that found the family who eats together less often consumes unhealthy food and, just as importantly, generally doesn't get along very well.

And, the opposite is just as true: More family time at the dinner table fosters better eating choices, social habits and grades in school, proof that it's about more than food. A family meal, one Rutgers anthropologist argues, is about "civilizing children. It's about teaching them to be a member of their culture."

Unfortunately, older children need this bonding time at the dinner table more than ever, according to the CASA study, but are less likely to have it. Moreover, those very same teens who ate no more than three meals a week with their families wished they could do so more often too.

And, with more than a third of all American families waiting until the last minute to make a mealtime decision -- often leading to poor food choices -- no wonder the epidemic of childhood obesity is growing by leaps and bounds.

Time Magazine June 4, 2006 Registration Required

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