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Sit down and eat together

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Hectic schedules for families seem to get even busier in the fall with school back in session. With everyone on the run, the Kansas Beef Council is encouraging families to make time to eat together as a family.

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Hectic schedules for families seem to get even busier in the fall with school back in session. With everyone on the run, the Kansas Beef Council is encouraging families to make time to eat together as a family.

Families can sit down and enjoy a steak to celebrate one of life's everyday successes such as an A on a test at school or a promotion at work. Family mealtime is critical to children's well-being.

A 2006 survey by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University documented that teens who had family dinners more than five times per week were two times less likely to have smoked cigarettes and 1½ times less likely to have used alcohol. Other studies confirm this link between family meals and behavior issues during teen years. The more often families eat together, the less likely teens are to smoke cigarettes, use illegal drugs, abuse alcohol, become depressed or develop eating disorders.

CASA also found that mealtime conversations help children acquire and improve the language skills that are critical for school success. A study by Dr. Catherine Snow at Harvard's Graduate School of Education followed children during a 15-year period. Conversations at the family table taught children more vocabulary than they learned from their parents reading books to them. And a University of Illinois study found that elementary schoolchildren who did well in class and on achievement tests generally spent larger amounts of time eating meals with their families.

"Mealtime is an essential component of quality family time, and beef is a quick and easy solution to get families together around the dinner table to celebrate life's accomplishments -- both big and small," says Sharla Huseman of the Kansas Beef Council. "A delicious steak is the perfect entree for a special occasion, and special occasions and moments to celebrate can occur almost every day."

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Ranch Family Blog author, Kim Harms, uses grilled steak to celebrate her family's everyday accomplishments.

"As a busy family of five, it's hard to get everyone together to sit down, but we make it a priority," Harms says. "Some of our best family memories have come from sitting down together and enjoying each other's company."

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