The Department of Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS), a community-based nutrition, health promotion and family wellness outreach component of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, has launched a webpage dedicated to providing resources on family meals to coincide with National Family Meals Month™ which is observed each September.
Research over the last decade has suggested that family meals play an important role in promoting healthful dietary intake in youth and reducing obesity during childhood and adolescence. This online Rutgers resource, aptly titled Family Meals, offers tools to families to take advantage of shared mealtime, which offer several important benefits including family socialization that is an important part of children’s social and emotional development.
FCHS is committed to families sharing healthy family meals and understand that for many parents, it would be much easier and simpler to forget about family dinners. Jobs, children and activities all contribute to families being constantly on the go, thus feeling the need to eat on the run. But more and more parents are realizing the importance of shared family time at the dinner table and often this is the only time when all family members are all together in one place.
The launch of the web-based resources is another component of FCHS’ focus on providing meaningful tools to educate and support families, worksites, schools and communities to create healthier lifestyles.
FCHS is a leader in the communities in which it serves and works collaboratively with stakeholders to identify health needs, determine educational priorities and implement culturally- and community-appropriate delivery methods. In addition to maintaining a presence in county offices, FCHS educators serve on numerous advisory boards and coalitions locally and statewide.