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Sharing Meals

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 families were reported to eat meals together 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 families did not eat at least one meal together during the previous week. On average, children and families ate meals together on 5.4 days during the previous week.

The likelihood of sharing meals is lower in households with higher incomes. Among children with household incomes below 100 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL), 58.2 percent ate at least one meal together with their families every day, while 48.8 percent of children whose household incomes were between 100 and 199 percent of FPL did so. Nearly 43 percent of children with household incomes between 200 and 399 percent of FPL and 38.9 percent of children in households with incomes of 400 percent or more of FPL ate a meal together with their families every day.

Eating meals together every day also varied by race and ethnicity. Children of other races and Hispanic children were most likely to eat at least one meal together as a family every day (59.6 and 53.8 percent, respectively), followed by multiracial children (49.0 percent). About 42 percent of Black and White children ate meals with family members every day.