Frequent family dinners impact youth substance use rates

Celebrate Family Day – Be Involved. Stay Involved.

092115-Family-Day-Ad-EnglisChildren and teens who eat dinner with their families five to seven times per week are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs, according to studies by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia). Children and teens who have frequent family dinners are also more likely to report having excellent relationships with their parents.

Drug Free Osage County is encouraging families to observe this year’s Family Day, which is celebrated annually on the fourth Monday of September to promote parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of substance use in children and teens.

“Family Day – Be Involved. Stay Involved.” is a national movement launched by CASAColumbia in 2001 to inform parents that frequent family dinners can make a difference. The campaign has been coordinated statewide since 2002 by Kansas Family Partnership.

“We encourage parents throughout the community to celebrate Family Day on Monday, Sept. 28, by eating dinner with their children and engaging in conversations about healthy behaviors,” said Teresa Briggs, community coordinator of Drug Free Osage County. “We hope that Family Day will remind parents to make family dinners an important part of their regular routines.”

For the past 20 years, CASAColumbia has surveyed thousands of American children, teens and their parents to identify situations and circumstances that influence the risk of youth substance abuse. Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking or using drugs before age 18. Thus, children and teens that get through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs are virtually certain never to do so.

“Parents have the greatest influence on whether their children and teens will choose not to use,” said Michelle Voth, executive director of Kansas Family Partnership. “The Family Day campaign emphasizes how important it is to connect with your kids at various times throughout the day, whether it’s driving them to activities, tucking them into bed or having frequent family dinners.”

The campaign encourages parents to make every day Family Day in their homes.

For resources to celebrate Family Day, including recipes, dinner ideas and conversation starters, visit Kansas Family Partnership’s website at www.kansasfamily.com/programs/family-day-campaign/.

For more information about Drug Free Osage County, contact Briggs at 620-481-1197 or [email protected].


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