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Newsroom Frequent Family Dinners Impact Youth Substance Use Rates

Children and teens who eat dinner with their families, five to seven times per week, are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs, according to recent studies by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia®). Children and teens who have frequent family dinners are also more likely to report having excellent relationships with their parents.
Family Day - Be Involved. Stay Involved.® is a national movement launched by CASAColumbia®  in 2001, to inform parents that frequent family dinners can make a difference. Celebrated annually on the fourth Monday of September, Family Day promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of substance use in children and teens. The campaign has been coordinated statewide since 2002, by Kansas Family Partnership (KFP).

"I encourage parents across Kansas to celebrate Family Day on Sept. 22, by eating dinner with their children and engaging in conversations about healthy behaviors," Kansas First Lady and Kansas Family Day Honorary Chair Mary Brownback said. "I hope that Family Day will remind parents to make family dinners an important part of their regular routines."

Over the past 20 years, CASAColumbia® has surveyed thousands of American children, teens and their parents to identify situations and circumstances that influence the risk of youth substance abuse. Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking or using drugs before age 18. Thus, children and teens who get through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs are virtually certain never to do so.
"I firmly believe strong families make a strong Kansas," Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. "If we can keep kids on the right path before they reach adulthood, they are much more likely to achieve life-long self-sufficiency and success."
KFP hopes that Family Day will be the start of a daily habit in which parents and children take time out of their busy schedules to come together and talk.
"Parents have the greatest influence on whether their children and teens will choose not to use," KFP Executive Director Michelle Voth said. "The Family Day campaign emphasizes how important it is to connect with your kids at various times throughout the day, whether it's driving them to activities, tucking them into bed or having frequent family dinners. KFP encourages parents to make every day Family Day in their homes."
For resources to celebrate Family Day, including recipes, dinner ideas and conversation starters, visit Kansas Family Partnership's website at Find KFP on Facebook at and Twitter @KsFamilyPartner.
Kansas Family Partnership, Inc. (KFP) is a statewide nonprofit that promotes safe and healthy youth, families and communities by connecting them with substance abuse prevention education, networks and resources. KFP provides drug prevention programs for youth, coordinates statewide drug awareness campaigns and a drug prevention material clearinghouse, supports prevention providers and treatment professionals, and informs lawmakers about sound drug policy. KFP is the statewide coordinator of the Family Day Campaign, the Red Ribbon Campaign, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), the Kansas Youth Empowerment Conference (KYEC) and the Kansas Youth Leadership Summit (KYLS).