Depression, Obesity and Family Meal Time

The average North American family eats 5.1 dinners together as a family per week.

Why Eat Together as a Family?

Writing in the Archives of Iranian Medicine, researchers described family dinner as a “proxy of family connectedness,” one that may influence mental health.  In fact, children who ate dinner together five or more times a week were less likely to suffer from mental disorders as well as obesity.

In 2010, “The Importance of Family Dinners VI” report from Columbia University revealed that teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week) were less likely to engage in risky behaviors than those who had less than three family dinners per week. Specifically, teens who did not eat frequent family dinners had double the likelihood of using tobacco, nearly double the risk of having used alcohol and a 1.5 greater likelihood of having used marijuana.


As we move into summer mode, the chance to dine together becomes greater.  The schedules of household activities tends to slow a bit and families generally have the opportunity to be together more.

Capitalize on the relaxed summer pace and be sure to deliberately dine together.  Eating together as a family has loads of benefits.

  • Family connectedness
  • Better Food Choice
  • Greater Emotional Well Being
  • Better relationships with friends and peers
  • Increased resiliency to stress
  • Less school truancy
  • Less teenage pregnancy
  • Less use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
  • Less Depression
  • Less Obesity

The verdict is in: Family Meal Time is Amazing, Make it a Priority.

Be Blessed, Dr Matt


Dr. Matt Tonnos


God, Family, Food, Exercise, and Health Strategy for People. Full time Doctor, Dad, and Husband. When I’m not interacting with patients, playing with my kids, or exercising at home with my wife, Dr. Amy Culver, you can find me reading books, enjoying a strong cup of coffee, and investing in new start-ups. Remember, if you’re not moving it, you’re losing it.