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

Government: Traffic Light Levels Announced

The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why An Attack On Iran Is Back On The Agenda

Reportedly, Christopher Luxon has the edge on Simon Bridges in National’s leadership contest although there is no firm evidence for that hunch. So, one hesitates about joining a media echo chamber that amplifies Luxon’s chances ahead of the 3pm caucus meeting today. You know how it goes: Luxon doesn’t quite have the numbers, so his people start talking to the media to make him seem like the smart bet. Or even perhaps: Luxon hasn't got the numbers, and his people start talking to the media to talk up his support so that he gets a nicer consolation prize... More>>


National: Christopher Luxon Elected Party Leader
Christopher Luxon has been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party, alongside Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. “It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Mr Luxon says... More>>

Government: New Law Will Clear The Air For Tamariki In Vehicles
From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said... More>>

Government: Workplace Vaccination Requirements Extended To Cover Police And NZ Defence Force

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today that workplace vaccination requirements will be extended to include the New Zealand Police and Defence Force in preparation for the transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework on 3 December 2021... More>>

Freedom Camping: Making Sure People Are Up To Play With Changes
People interested in finding out how the proposed improvements to freedom camping might affect them are being invited to an information-sharing webinar... More>>

AUT: Aucklanders Are Less Concerned With Covid
In reaction to commentary that Aucklanders are at breaking point after more than 100 days in lockdown and that compliance with the rules is under threat, AUT Emeritus Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers says... More>>

National: Launches First Step To World-class Tech Sector

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says technology will create exciting careers and higher paying jobs and has the potential to transform the New Zealand economy... More>>




InfoPages News Channels