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Fighting Under Age Drinking, One Meal at a Time

Teens with families who eat meals together are happier and less likely to engage in underage drinking, tobacco, and drug use

Friday September 14, 2007

SACRAMENTO- What do teens really want? To spend more time with their families, according to a study released by Viacom’s MTV Network. 46 percent of teens say spending time with family and loved ones is what makes them the most happy. In addition, teens that spend mealtimes with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, or use drugs and tend to perform better academically, according to a report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).

It’s no wonder then why 1.3 million Americans nationwide have already pledged to sit down and have a meal together as a family on the fifth annual Family Meal Day this September 24, 2007. In the Sacramento area, underage and high-risk drinking among young people is significant and increasing. Recent research conducted by the California Healthy Kids Survey shows that 29 percent of Sacramento County seventh graders reported using alcohol. This figure is higher than the state average of 21 percent. Family Meal Day will involve Sacramento area families in solving this problem by promoting parental engagement as the single most effective way to discourage underage drinking, smoking, and drug use, as well as simply increasing overall well-being.

“The benefits from family meals are endless,” states Trisha Stanionis, Director of Sacramento’s Project Help. “Research proves what we’ve known all along: that parental involvement is our most potent weapon in promoting social and emotional wellness among young people.” The easiest way for a family to become more involved is over the dinner table.

Raley’s, a West Sacramento-based supermarket chain, continues their support of Family Meal Day by hosting The Family Meal Day Traveling Tablecloths throughout the month of September at participating Raley’s and Bel Air stores throughout the Sacramento area. While there, community members can sign the tablecloth, pledging to share more meals with their families, and can also enter a contest to win a family meal a week for an entire year, provided by Raley’s.

To bring Family Meal Day back to the kitchen, Natomas-based Kitchen Academy will be hosting a Family Meal Day celebration, featuring a cooking demo by Raley’s Recipe Developer Patty Mastracco and Kitchen Academy students. The recipe, developed by Patty and Kitchen Academy students, will demonstrate how simple it can be to commit to sitting down over a healthy meal five times a week. Local community leaders and teens will be present to help spread the good news about Family Meal Day.
For more information on the importance of family meals and the schedule of Traveling Tablecloth appearances, visit the Project Help website,, or

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