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Hunterdon News

Hunterdon County Partnership for Health Kicks-off Commit to Family Meals Campaign

June 27, 2019

The proven health and societal benefits of family meals inspire a local health coalition to help families get back to the table

With an aim to inspire families to eat at home together more often, as a service to public health, Hunterdon County Partnership for Health (PFH) is encouraging families to share one more meal together per week at home, and highlighting simple, healthy meal resources to make it easier for families to “raise their mitt”, as in oven mitt, to commit to making these meals happen.

Numerous studies underscore the long-term health, academic, and societal benefits of consistently eating together as a family, yet, according to a 2013 Harris poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner every night. In addition, recent research proves that people who frequently cook at home eat fewer and healthier calories.

“It’s time we spotlight the long-term benefits of family meals, and start a conversation that encourages and inspires people to return to the kitchen,” said Kim Blanda, RN, BSN, and Chair of the PFH’s Healthy Lifestyle Action Team. “Juggling the demands of modern life—school, sports, jobs and long commutes— can sabotage the best laid plans for home-cooked meals. In addition to our commitment to public health overall, we want to have a hand in helping our audience make wholesome meals together, at home, a modern family tradition. We also recognize the science behind family meals leading to better school performance, reduction in obesity, and lower rates of substance misuse and other risky behaviors. The benefits are definitely worth it.”

“Interest in creating more opportunities for families to eat meals together is at a critical point in our society,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, creator of National Family Meals Month™. “The will to return to the table exists, but families need a friendly, familiar voice to encourage, guide and help them. That voice comes from organizations they know and trust. Join us as we work collaboratively with retailers, food manufacturers, and health organizations from across the country to bring families back to the table to share one more meal at home per week.”

Recognizing mealtime struggles are real and shared by families of all shapes and size

Shoprite of Hunterdon County, one of the PFH members, is offering more solutions than ever before, giving shoppers the tools they need to make family meals easier. Family Meal cases in the front of their store feature a recipe of the week with all the ingredients in one place. They also offer prepared healthy options on their hot buffet and “grab and go” case. All of their stores have dietitian’s on-hand to help families with meal planning, address dietary concerns and meals on a budget.

Raise Your Mitt to Commit™ to One More Meal at Home per Week

Partnership for Health is encouraging our community to join the family meal movement by pledging to one more meal at home per week. Make it official, and shareable, by posting a selfie wearing your favorite oven mitt with the hashtag #SmallChangesBigImpact and “like” us on Facebook at Hunterdon County Partnership for Health.

The Hunterdon County Partnership for Health is a health coalition in existence since 1995 and includes more than sixty multi-sector organizations throughout the county with a common goal to improve our resident’s health and wellness. http://partnershipforhealth.hunterdonhealthcare.org/

‘Source Note: Cornell University College of Human Ecology Department of Policy Analysis and Management: Do Family Meals Really Make a Difference?, Eliza Cook, Rachel Dunifon. 2012; Accessed [date], http://www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/

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