A recent study found that 91% of American parents note that their families are less stressed when they eat together.
The American Heart Association surveyed 1,000 adults and also found that 84% of people would like to share mealtimes with loved ones more. However, the average adult in the United States eats only 50% of the time.
Sharing meals with people was a “great way to reduce stress and boost self-esteem,” said Erin Michus, MD, a volunteer with the American Heart Association, adding that it’s especially beneficial for children.
Several studies have shown that chronic stress increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The survey also found that in addition to reducing stress, sharing meals with family has additional benefits. She found that people believe that eating with friends and family reminds them of the importance of social connections. Even half of those surveyed said the activity helped them “slow down and take a break.”
Nearly 60% said they tend to make healthier choices when dining with others.
Michos believes that it is important to set goals and spend time eating dinner together on purpose.