Health Advice



Meals with loved ones dish up emotional and physical benefits

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

"I didn't grow up in a traditional family, and I never had a family dinner around the table," says actress/talk show host Drew Barrymore. "So whenever I actually had a dinner 'plan,' it meant a lot to me; it made me feel excited and safe."

Mealtimes shared with family and friends really do improve your emotional outlook and reduce your tension and stress. That's the conclusion of a survey from the American Heart Association. Nationwide, the AHA interviewed 1,000 adults and overall they said they ate alone more than half of the time. They also acknowledged that eating with family and friends has great benefits.

-- 91% of parents notice their family is less stressed when they share family meals together.

-- 67% said sharing a meal reminds them of the importance of connecting with others.

-- 59% said they make healthier food choices when eating with other people.

-- 54% say it reminds them to slow down and take a break.


Work, school and recreation schedules make getting everyone together at the dinner table a challenge -- but it's one worth taking on. Having meals with family (and friends) is associated with lower rates of depression, anxiety, obesity and substance abuse; fewer eating disorders; less tobacco use; healthier hearts and brains; and higher rates of resilience and self esteem. And, not just for kids -- for adults, too! So make a date for a sit-down-together meal where friends and family can laugh, chat, relax and feel the healing benefits of connection that get served up.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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