The benefit of family meals is overestimated

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

26 September 2012, 15:33

Some families have long established traditions, and one of them is a joint meal, when all members of the family gather at a common table.

It is believed that joint breakfasts, lunches or dinners contribute to establishing contacts between parents and children, and also contribute to the strengthening of family ties. In addition, there is an opinion that due to such family "sit-rounds", the child has a higher academic performance at school, and his behavior is influenced by family dinners very positively.

However, a new study of scientists from the University of Boston shows that family meals do not have such a strong impact, as previously thought.

According to experts, all their attempts to find the relationship between family dinners and academic achievement or behavior, were in vain.

"We do not find any links between dinners or dinners in the family circle and school grades, and we do not see any influence on the behavior of the child," said lead author Daniel Miller. "It does not depend on the age of the children, nor on the frequency of joint meals."

Scientists from Columbia and New York universities have already conducted research in this area, based on data from the National Representative Sampling of the United States. Researchers monitored pre-school children from 1998 until they reach 15 years of age.

Scientists took into account all the factors that could have a potential impact on the child: parental employment at work, their behavior at home, the conditions of schooling, the experience of teachers, and much more.

As a result, experts found that the influence of family pastime, in particular, gathering at the same table, does not have practically no effect on the performance and behavior of the child.

"We do not advise families to break their family traditions and stop meeting for lunch or dinner together," says Dr. Miller. - Just the opinion about the degree of their influence is erroneous. Families who believe that family meals, where all the members come together, are very important, they can not just stop at a joint meal, and also think about where else you can interact with the child. "

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.