Survey: Families who eat together are less stressed
Chronic and ongoing stress can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke over the course of a person’s lifetime, but a recent American Heart Association poll found that regularly sharing meals with others may be a simple way to reduce stress.
The vast majority (84%) of the 1,000 U.S. adults surveyed nationwide in September 2022 for the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement by Wakefield Research say they wish they could share a meal with loved ones more frequently, and almost all parents report that their family is less stressed when they regularly connect over a meal.
The American Heart Association will provide useful and affordable meal suggestions with every Tuesday through December in an effort to make mealtime togetherness a little easier and help people reap the benefits for their hearts, minds, and bodies that come with it.
According to Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., an American Heart Association volunteer, associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins, and co-author of the organization’s statement on psychological health, well-being, and the mind-heart-body connection, sharing meals with others is a great way to lower stress, increase self-esteem, and improve social connection, especially for children.
Beyond reducing stress, connecting with friends, family, coworkers, and neighbours have many positive effects. In fact, the survey revealed that 54% of people said it reminds them to slow down and take a breather, and 67% of people said it reminds them of the value of engaging with others over a meal.
According to the poll, respondents indicate they are more inclined (59%) to choose healthier foods when eating with others but find it challenging to coordinate schedules with their friends or family to do so. In general, respondents said they ate by themselves around half the time.
According to a poll conducted by the American Heart Association, 65% of adults report having some level of stress, and 27% report having severe or very high levels of stress. If they had more time to take breaks and eat with coworkers, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) survey participants who work full or part-time indicated they would feel less stressed at work.