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CASA* Report Finds Teens Who Have Infrequent Family Dinners Likelier to Drink, Smoke, Use Marijuana
Date:9/22/2009

f an hour, and 35 percent of teens say their family dinners usually last more than half an hour.

"The bad news in this year's survey is that work and other activities keep many families from getting to the table for frequent family dinners. But the good news is that most of these teens and parents would be willing to give up a weeknight activity to have dinner with their family," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's founder and chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. "Over the past decade and a half of surveying thousands of American teens and their parents, we've learned that the more often children have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. I urge parents to arrange their schedules and the outside activities so that they can have frequent family dinners. If they do so, they'll discover what a difference dinner makes."

Other Notable Findings

  • Compared to 12- and 13-year olds who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are six times likelier to use marijuana, four times likelier to use tobacco, and three times likelier to use alcohol.
  • Compared to teens who attend religious services at least weekly, those who never attend services are more than twice as likely to try cigarettes, and twice as likely to try marijuana and alcohol.
  • Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are one and a half times likelier to report getting grades of C or lower in school.

Family Day--A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children(TM)

More than a decade of CASA research has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. Family Day is a national movement launched by CASA in 2001 to rem
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SOURCE The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University
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