PRESIDENT BUSH, 28 STATES, 150 CITIES AND COUNTIES PROCLAIM FAMILY DAY
BARBARA BUSH, JAMIE LEE CURTIS IN PSA CAMPAIGN
FROM AGE 12 TO 17, FAMILY DINNERS DECLINE AS RISK OF TEEN SUBSTANCE ABUSE RISES
NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 18, 2003 – Monday, September 22nd will mark the third annual commemoration of Family Day: A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM, conceived by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. Family Day is a national effort to promote parental engagement as a simple, effective way to reduce youth substance abuse and raise healthier children.
In conjunction with the 2003 Family Day, CASA conducted research probing the relationship between family mealtime and substance abuse among teens. The center found that the number of teens who have regular family dinners drops by 50 percent as between the ages of 12 and 17. During this time their substance abuse risk increases sevenfold.
“The survey finds that the more often children have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., chairman and president of CASA. “It is a tragedy that family dinners decline as teens get older.”
Earlier this month, CASA launched a public service awareness campaign, promoting Family Day and its message. The campaign includes television spots featuring former First Lady Barbara Bush; radio spots featuring actress and CASA board member Jamie Lee Curtis; subway and bus posters; and movie theatre slides.
A proclamation from President George W. Bush declaring September 22, 2003 to be Family Day stated: “Recent studies from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens from families who eat dinnertogether were less likely to use illegal drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, while teenagers who rarely eat dinner with the parents were more likely to engage in these unhealthy activities.”
To date, 28 states and 150 cities across the United States have also declared that Monday, September 22 be recognized as Family Day. Additional states and cities are expected to issue proclamations prior to Family Day.
Family Day survey findings:
- Compared to teens who have family dinners twice a week or less, teens who have dinner with their families five or more nights in a week are:
- 32 percent likelier never to have tried cigarettes (86 percent vs. 65 percent).
- 45 percent likelier never to have tried alcohol (68 percent vs. 47 percent).
- 24 percent likelier never to have smoked pot (88 percent vs. 71 percent).
- Teens who have family dinners twice a week or less are three times likelier than teens who have dinner with their families five or more times a week to say all of their friends use marijuana (9 percent vs. 3 percent).
- Teens who have dinner with their families five or more times a week are almost twice as likely to receive A’s in school compared to teens who have dinner with their families two or fewer times a week (20 percent vs. 12 percent). Teens who receive A’s and B’s are at half the risk of substance abuse as those who receive grades of C or lower.
Public Service Campaign
Based on research showing that frequent family dinners reduce the risk of teens smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs, CASA first promoted Family Day in 2001. Since then, Family Day has been gaining acceptance and has been endorsed by numerous states, cities, counties, government agencies, community groups and private companies.
This year’s public service campaign is the most extensive to date and includes national television and radio spots, written by advertising agency Foote, Cone and Belding, with distribution through Viacom and The Ad Council; bus and subway posters, placed in nine cities by Viacom; and movie slides shown before films begin on 1,400 National Amusements movie theater screens in 12 states. Coca-Cola provided the funding for the poster campaign.
“We’re thrilled to have launched this national campaign with the participation of our former First Lady Barbara Bush and Jamie Lee Curtis,” noted Dr. Horn and Mr. Califano. “Their commitment and that of the many organizations involved will help make Family Day a powerful symbolic reminder of the impact of family dinners and parental engagement on our nation’s teens.”
General Arthur Dean, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), outlined grass roots efforts that the group’s more than 5,000 coalitions will undertake to promote Family Day. “Community Anti-Drug Coalitions across the nation will sponsor Family Day celebrations to promote parental engagement as a powerful way to keep kids off drugs,” Gen. Dean announced.
This year, General Mills is the Presenting Sponsor of Family Day. Through its sponsorship, General Mills will support Family Day programs and research designed to strengthen family bonds and improve children’s lives. Because eating dinner together as a family is a simple way to nourish and nurture children, the company will also promote Family Day in advertising, public relations and with employees at a special Family Day event.
“We congratulate General Mills on its sponsorship of Family Day and look forward to working with the company to remind Americans of the importance of family dinners in reducing substance abuse and raising healthier children,” said Califano.
Among the sponsors and endorsers of Family Day are the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, National Parent Teacher Association, National Council of Churches, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, United Association of Hebrew Congregations, Partnership for a Drug Free America, and The Coca-Cola Company.
For more information on Family Day, please visit http://www.casafamilyday.org.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA's missions are to: inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives; assess what works in prevention, treatment and law enforcement; encourage every individual and institution to take responsibility to combat substance abuse and addiction; provide those on the front lines with tools they need to succeed; and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.
With a staff of 74 professionals, CASA has conducted demonstration projects in 60 sites in 32 cities and 21 states focused on children, families and schools, and has been testing the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, monitoring 15,000 individuals in more than 200 programs and five drug courts in 26 states.