Eating together as a family can promote family bonding and good nutrition and eating habits. Overall, the parents of 45.8 percent of children reported that their families had eaten at least one meal together every day during the previous week. More than 31 percent of children were reported to eat meals with their families on 4-6 days per week, while 19.1 percent ate meals together on only 1-3 days per week and 4.1 percent of children did not eat at least one meal with their families during the previous week. On average, children and their families ate meals together on 5.4 days during the previous week. The percentage of children who shared a meal with their families every day in the past week was highest in small rural areas, where 50.7 percent of children did so.
In all locations, younger children were more likely than older children and adolescents to share meals with their families. In small rural areas, for example, 62.6 percent of children aged 0-5 shared meals with their families every day, compared to 36.6 percent of adolescents aged 12-17.
Children with lower household incomes were also more likely to share meals with their families, regardless of location. In urban areas, for example, 56.8 percent of children with household incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL) shared a meal with their families every day, compared to 38.8 percent of children with household incomes of 400 percent of FPL or more.