Did you know that eating dinner frequently with your children reduces their risk of substance abuse?

Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families; the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. The conversations that go hand-in-hand with the dinner will help you learn more about your children’s lives and better understand the challenges they face.

CASA created Family Day as A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children in 2001, as a national effort to promote family dinners to help reduce substance abuse among children and teens.

Family Day emphasizes the importance of regular family activities and encourages Americans to make family dinners a regular feature of their lives. Parental engagement is the single most effective strategy in preventing substance use and abuse among youths.

Children and teens who have frequent family dinners are at half the risk for substance abuse compared to teens who dine with their families infrequently. They are less likely to have friends or classmates who use illicit drugs or abuse prescription drugs. They have lower levels of tension and stress at home. They are more likely to say their parents are proud of them and that they can confide in them as well. They are likelier to get better grades in school. They are more emotionally content and have positive peer relationships. They have better eating habits and are less likely to have thoughts of suicide. They are less likely to try marijuana or have friends who use marijuana.

The Hamilton County Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition urges everyone to celebrate Family Day on Monday, Sept. 25. For more information, call Grace McDonald at 792-9388 or 938-4911.

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