Family Meals and Substance Abuse
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Family dinners may prevent risky behavior by the adolescents of the household, according to a study of Minnesota teens. In todayís 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at the researchers results.

Parents who have regular meals with their adolescent children might help lessen the chances they will start drinking or smoking later in their teen years.

Past studies have shown that family meals provide many benefits, including offering a venue for parents to communicate with their adolescents about their daily activities, as well as monitoring their moods and whereabouts.

Researchers examined data from 806 Minnesota adolescents and asked how often their family ate together and about their use of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol. They followed up with a second survey by mail.

In the second survey, girls who had reported five or more family meals per week had significantly less substance use than did the females who did not have regular family meals. The girls who had regular meals had about half the occurence of substance use.

However, boys showed no significant difference in substance use between those who had regular family meals and those who did not.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.