Family Dinners: The Key to Happiness?

Researchers found that the more frequently a family ate dinner together, the better teens' emotional well-being ranked

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Here's another reason to join in on The Daily Meal's Family Dinners: researchers have found that teenagers whose families often have dinner together tend to be happier, Fast Company reports. And it's probably not just the menu.

Researchers at McGill University surveyed 26,069 adolescents from 11 to 15 years old (you know, the bratty years) who participated in the Canadian Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study. They found, across the board, that family meals often had a positive effect on the mental health of subjects, regardless of gender, age, or wealth.

"We were surprised to find such consistent effects on every outcome we studied," McGill professor Frank Elgar said in a press release. "From having no dinners together to eating together seven nights a week, each additional dinner related to significantly better mental health."

The researchers gathered that the increased emotional well-being and prosocial behavior can be partially attributed to an increased efficiency in communication between parents and kids. The more parents and kids broke bread together, the fewer emotional and behavioral problems the kids had, Elgar notes, and the more trusting and helpful they were with others. We can only imagine what bringing kids into the kitchen will do.


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