CASA AND GENERAL MILLS ENLISTING ONE MILLION FAMILIES TO CELEBRATE FAMILY DAY ON SEPTEMBER 27TH
Family Dinners Key In Fight Against Substance Abuse
New York, September 20, 2004 – The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University and General Mills are asking American families to join the fight against teen substance abuse by pledging to have dinner together on Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children, September 27th.
Family Day sponsors, including General Mills, Chrysler Group, and Coca-Cola, and Family Day partners, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have joined with CASA to promote the Family Day pledge.
Those who pledge will be offered an opportunity to Win Free Dinner for a Year from General Mills, which is also publicizing the pledge drive in some of its product promotions. Families can pledge to have dinner together at http://www.familydaypledge.com/. Links to that site can also be found www.CASAFamilyDay.org, as well as on the websites of CASA’s Family Day sponsors and partners.
CASA research has consistently shown that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs. New data from CASA reveals that, compared to teens that have dinner with their families five to seven times a week, those who eat dinner with their families less often possess chaacteristics that increase their risk of substance abuse, including:
CASA created Family Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Monday of September – the 27th in 2004 – to call attention to the many benefits to children of frequent family dinners and parental engagement and communication. In addition to a reduced risk of substance abuse, children and teens who frequently
dine with their families do better in school, are bored less often, are less stressed and have better eating habits.
Research by other organizations has shown that teens who eat frequent family dinners are less likely than other teens to have sex at young ages, get into fights or be suspended from school, and are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide. This pattern holds true regardless of a teen’s sex, family structure, and family socioeconomic level.
“Having dinner as a family is a simple, yet powerful way to protect America’s children and teens from substance abuse,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. “It doesn’t take an Act of Congress or millions of dollars. The nation’s substance abuse problem is all about children and it will be solved in the living rooms and dining rooms, and across the kitchen tables of America.”
"We know that one of the barriers to sitting down and eating together as a family is lack of time. With the many time-saving dinner products we offer, it was very logical for General Mills to join in this effort to bring families together at the dinner table more frequently," says Mary Cavanaugh, Meals Division, General Mills.
Since its inception in 2001, President George W. Bush, 35 states and more than 300 cities and counties have issued Family Day proclamations. A growing list of government agencies, not-for-profit groups, community-based organizations and businesses are celebrating and promoting the day among their members, employees and other constituents.
In addition to National Presenting Sponsor General Mills and National Sponsors Chrysler Group and Coca-Cola, Family Day Sponsors include American Express, Automatic Data Processing, Bank One, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Federated Department Stores, Goldman, Sachs, JPMorganChase, McDonald's, Northrop Grumman, The Hearst Corporation, Verizon Communications, WellPoint, the Willis Group, and Pat and John Rosenwald, and in-kind contributors Interpublic Group, National Amusements and Viacom. A full list of sponsors and participants, and ideas for celebrating Family Day, can be found at 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 89 sites in 41 cities in 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. CASA is the creator of the nationwide Family Day initiative –the fourth Monday in September – that promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs.