"Come and get it!" A phrase historically proclaiming that the communal meal is ready, is heard all too infrequently among contemporary American households, especially as children get older. Indeed, over 40% of the typical American food budget is spent on eating out, with family meals often being relegated to holidays and special occasions. Aside from negative effects on the family budget, eating out has been shown to be generally associated with poor food choices and bad health. Of particular interest to public health experts is growing scientific evidence that fewer family meals may translate to increased obesity risk and poor nutritional status, especially among children. But getting this message out to busy parents in a way that will convince them to spend more time at the dining room table with their children is problematic at best.
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