From 2003 to 2008 research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York has consistently found that compared to children who have frequent family dinners -- five or more per week -- children who have infrequent family dinners -- less than three per week -- are two and a half times likelier to have used marijuana and tobacco, and one and a half times likelier to have consumed alcohol.
"Years of surveying teens have consistently shown that the more often they have dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use drugs," Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman said in a statement.
This year CASA is asking parents to join its "Star" pledge to gather the family at the dinner table and:
-- S: Spend time with their kids by having dinner together.
-- T: Talk to children about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
-- A: Answer children's questions and listen to what they say.
-- R: Recognize that parents have the power to help keep their kids substance-free.