Family Mealtimes Are Still a Tradition
May 1, 2006
 
According to researchers, there's much more going on at mealtimes than just eating. A new book co-edited by U of I researchers Reed Larson and Angela Wiley suggests that everything from a higher level of literacy in young children to better nutrition in teens may be influenced by the simple practice of families sharing meals together.

Family Mealtime as a Context of Development and Socialization, includes articles by leading researchers on family mealtimes. The book concludes that although there have been a lot of societal changes in families, family mealtime is not going the way of the dinosaur.

Today's family meals may consist of more take-out food than 25 years ago, but it's what happens around the table -- the social interactions -- that's important, says Larson. It's a time to check up on homework, share stories and news, and pass on family traditions.

Larson says that sharing family meals together is just one ingredient in the recipe for a healthy family.