Dinner Makes a Difference
September 26, 2011
Today GMA and its member companies are pleased to celebrate Family Meals Day, a day established in 2001 by the good folks at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University to encourage family engagement and foster the many benefits it can yield.
But at GMA, we also recognize that between working parents and busy children, it’s more challenging than ever for families to find time to break bread together, so we’re doing everything we can to provide the nutritious, convenient and affordable product choices that will help families spend less time in the kitchen and more time around the kitchen table.
So what’s the big deal about families eating together?
At a recent GMA briefing to members of Congress and their staffs, Dr. Esther Myers, chief science officer at the American Dietetic Association, made clear that families who eat together have a lot to gain:
“The benefits of sharing three or more family mealtimes per week includes a reduction in the odds for being overweight (12 percent), eating unhealthy foods (20 percent), and disordered eating (35 percent) and an increase in the odds for eating healthy (24 percent). (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/6/e1565.full).
Children and adolescents who consume frequent family meals not only have better overall diet quality, they have a decreased risk of substance abuse and higher scholastic scores, too.
As food and beverage companies continue to look for ways that they can make a difference in the national battle against obesity and help build healthy communities, we are doing all that we can to facilitate family meals, including:
- Since 1961, our member companies have leveraged product innovation to save parents 30-40 minutes a day in meal prep time and cut by more than half the amount that the average American spends on food
- Giving consumers more than 20,000 healthier product choices that have fewer calories and reduced fat, sugar and sodium
- Through the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, food and beverage manufacturers are removing 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015
- Introducing a landmark front-of-pack labeling system that lists key nutrition information in a simple, easy-to-understand format on the front of packages so busy parents can make more informed decisions when they shop
Everyone – industry, government, schools, parents, employers, communities and non-governmental organizations – must do their part if we are going to meet First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation. GMA and its member companies are proud to do our part to help families enjoy more time together over healthy, nutritious and affordable meals.
By William Tatum