News Story

Study Shows Family Mealtime Helps Parents Too

A study of 1,580 IBM employees by Church-owned Brigham Young University shows that eating dinner together as a family has benefits for parents as well as children.

Research by Jenet Jacob and her colleagues at BYU finds that parents who work outside the home are less stressed if they make it home in time for dinner.

According to BYU News, “The study found that employees who could get home for dinner felt they worked in a healthy environment.”

Jacob told BYU News, “In our study, the level of interference with dinnertime was related to a perception of a healthy workplace, and that’s connected to job retention and productivity.”

The BYU study appears in the June issue of Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal. The Wall Street Journal , U.S. News & World Report and Slate magazine also reported on the findings.   

Julie Beck, worldwide president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ organization for women, the Relief Society, is a believer in the power of families gathering together at mealtime. In 2005 she said of her own experiences as a young mother: “Though we were a busy family, I considered everyone’s presence at dinnertime nonnegotiable. It was our most consistent gathering time, and everyone planned to eat together before going on to other activities.”

She added that she learned of the power of this practice when her youngest daughter later wrote in a college paper: “Dinner in our home was not just an eating ritual, but a special time for the family to communicate and to share our thoughts and stories of the day. … We often sat together for over an hour as we savored the conversation as much as the food.”

In 1995 Latter-day Saint leaders issued a proclamation outlining the Church’s positions on family relationships and responsibilities.

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