The Surprising Benefits of the Family Meal

Sharon M. Fruh, Jayne A. Fulkerson, Madhuri S. Mulekar, Lee Ann J. Kendrick, Clista Clanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This article is a literature review on the surprising benefits of family meals. The family meal has declined drastically since 1966. Families who have frequent family meals often see the following benefits with their children and youth: enhanced vocabulary, academic success, healthy food selections, demonstration of positive values, and avoidance of high-risk behaviors (substance abuse, sexual activity, depression/suicide, violence, school problems, binge eating/purging, and excessive weight loss). Nurse practitioners are in an excellent position to assess for family meal frequency and encourage families to make family meals a reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalJournal for Nurse Practitioners
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Academic success
  • Eating alone
  • Family closeness
  • Family connectedness
  • Frequent family meals
  • Healthy food choices
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Intellectual development
  • Watching TV


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