Eating meals together as a family could lessen the risks of children smoking or taking drugs according to a study of 806 teenagers by researchers at the University of Minnesota. The children were first surveyed at about 13 and asked how often in the past week their family ate together and about their use of marijuana, cigarette and alcohol. The researchers followed up with a second survey by mail five years later. In the second survey the girls who had reported five or more family meals per week had about half the level of substance use. However, boys showed no significant difference in substance use between those who had regular family meals and those who did not.
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