Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Family Dinners Matter, Making Time Is Harder - Poll

A nationwide poll has found strong support for the importance of families having dinner together on a regular basis, but making that time is much more difficult to do, especially for lower socio-economic families.

In an independent poll of 1,000 New Zealanders undertaken by Curia Market Research and commissioned by Family First NZ, 88% of respondents said that dinners together on a regular basis are important, with two out of three (67%) saying they were ‘very important’. In a significant gender split, 80% of women said they were very important but only 55% of men. Families in low socio-economic areas also placed less emphasis on the importance of the regular meal together.

Families with children were overwhelmingly in support, with 98% of respondents in these households convinced of their importance. Green party voters were the most convinced of the importance of family dinners followed by NZ First voters.

However, when respondents were asked how often they were actually sitting down together for dinner, only 56% said they have dinner together at least five nights a week (5-7 nights). 10% were meeting six nights per week, and 29% were having dinner together every night of the week. 21% of the respondents were sitting down together only three nights or less. Families in high deprivation areas weren’t sitting down for dinner together very often. And despite the importance that families with children placed on dinners together, only 28% were eating together every night, with a further 39% managing 5-6 nights per week (2/3rds total of ‘partner and kids’ households at least five nights per week).

Research recently published by Oxford University[i] found that parents of younger children eat with their family members more frequently than parents of teenagers, but that parents in lower-income families often lack time and energy to prepare food or arrange a meal together with others, and that this has been linked with a less healthy diet. Shift work can also eat into family time. The study says that “Single parents, a notoriously time-poor category, spend the least amount of time eating with their families and have fewer commensal meals.”

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has surveyed thousands of American teens and their parents for almost two decades[ii] and say; “Our surveys have consistently found a relationship between children having frequent dinners with their parents and a decreased risk of their smoking, drinking or using other drugs, and that parental engagement fostered around the dinner table is one of the most potent tools to help parents raise healthy, drug-free children.” Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are: almost four times likelier to use tobacco; more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future. Teens themselves say that talking, sharing, catching up, and interacting with family members is the best part of family dinners.

Family First is running a campaign of promoting family dinners, including large billboards around the country, and an upcoming research paper summarising studies from New Zealand and around the world on the issue.

Get the whole family to the dinner table:

• Make shared family meals a priority

• Make family meals fun, including all family members of all ages in the preparation and discussion time

• Eliminate distractions like TV and phones

• Create an environment that leads to healthy communication

• Make dinner not about the food, but about the family, and time together

The nationwide poll was carried out during December and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On A Trade War With China

As things currently stand, the White House has NOT included New Zealand on its list of allies whose steel and aluminium exports to the US will be exempted from US President Donald Trump’s recent hike in tariffs.

Given that the tariffs in question have been imposed under section 232 of the 1962 US Trade Expansion Act (whereby the national security of the US is supposedly at stake) this American failure to treat New Zealand as an ally is historically significant. After all, our troops have fought and died alongside the US in every major global conflict – the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan etc – for the past hundred years or more. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Credibility In Politics

Credibility is always such a fickle, unstable element in politics. You know it when you see it, though. More>>

A Step Closer: Regional Fuel Tax For Auckland?

Legislation to allow regions to apply for a regional fuel tax, initially for Auckland, will be introduced to Parliament today, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced.More>>


SSC Findings: DHB Exec Misused Travel Funds

A State Services Commission investigation into the expenditure of former Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray found that more than half of his claims for travel and accommodation were unjustified.More>>


RNZ Explainer: Why You Should Care About Cambridge Analytica

Facebook's shares have lost billions of dollars in value after something to do with data used by Cambridge Analytica. Confused? Here's what it means, and what could come next. Cambridge Analytica is a London-based consulting firm. It is under pressure over allegations it uses illegally obtained data and social media manipulation to influence elections.More>>


Further $700,000: Teacher Supply Initiative Extended

Acting Minister of Education Tracey Martin has announced a further $700,000 to help more teachers into classrooms, with the extension of the Teacher Education Refresh (TER) Programme... More>>


Dotcom v Obama: High Court Declines to Subpoena Obama

The former President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, is in New Zealand for three days. The plaintiffs have filed an application for an order for his examination before a Judge while he is in New Zealand... More>>


Supporting Disabled People Into Work: Guidelines Launched

The Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni and Minister of Employment Willie Jackson welcome the launch of the new Employment Support Practice Guidelines: How to support disabled people to get the job they want... More>>


OIO and Forestry: Regime Amendments Proposed

Hon David Parker Associate Minister of Finance 20 March 2018 Amendments proposed to forestry rights screening regime Investments in sensitive land involving forestry rights will be brought into the scope of the Overseas Investment Act ... More>>





Featured InfoPages