In conjunction with September’s National Family Meals Month, the FMI Foundation celebrates its partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to highlight the mental health benefits of family meals.
Family meals provide opportunities to spend time and develop relationships with family and friends, which has been shown to improve mental and physical health. In fact, research shows that family meals are as important to health and well-being as sleep, exercise and food.
“Since 2015, the Family Meals Movement has promoted the physical health and nutrition benefits of family meals, however, the emotional and mental health benefits are also well-documented,” said David Fikes, executive director of the FMI Foundation.
“As the relationship between mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness gains recognition, we are delighted to team with NAMI. This partnership will help amplify the positive impact that family meals, however one defines family, have on mental health, physical health and emotional well-being.”
When families eat together, they tend to eat healthier meals, and this improved nutrition supports both the body and the mind. “Repeatedly, studies show that good nutrition plays a vital part in mental health – as do social connections,” said Christina Bott, director, public safety and health care initiatives at NAMI.
“Pairing good nutrition and family meals has protective benefits against a variety of risk factors. NAMI’s newest program, NAMI Hearts+Minds, focuses on the evidence-based interconnection of mental and physical health and empowering individuals in all aspects of their well-being. We’re pleased to partner with the FMI Foundation to raise awareness for the positive association between family meals and mental health.”
According to the FMI Foundation’s July “Staying Strong with Family Meals” barometer, 61 percent of Americans feel the benefits of family meals outweigh the costs. In fact, among households with children, 67 percent feel the benefits outweigh the costs. This barometer is a recurring quantitative study among a nationally representative sample of consumers. It also confirms that Americans are enjoying more meals together than they did before the pandemic.
Eighty-nine percent say they are having the same amount or more in-person family meals and, moving forward, more than 93 percent of Americans of those sharing more meals with others plan to continue sharing more family meals at home.
The FMI Foundation’s website showcases many studies that have shown how family meals result in better nutritional intake, as well as improved physical and mental health. It also features tips and links to partner organizations committed to helping Americans achieve their family meals goals and boost their overall wellness.