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American Heart Association Survey Shows Sharing Meals Reduces Stress

Since 1924, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke and helping people to live longer, healthier lives. Our local AHA shares ways that you can stay healthy, get involved and help raise awareness right here in NEPA.

New Survey Shows Families are Less Stressed When They Eat Together

Chronic, constant stress can increase lifetime risk of heart disease and stroke, but a new survey from the American Heart Association reveals regular mealtime with others could be a simple solution to help manage stress.

Of the 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide surveyed in September 2022, the vast majority (84%) say they wish they could share a meal more often with loved ones, and nearly all parents report lower levels of stress among their family when they regularly connect over a meal.

Sharing meals can reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and improve social connection. Eating together feeds the emotional well-being of all family members – especially children and adolescents.

Connecting with friends, family, coworkers and neighbors benefits people beyond stress relief. In fact, the survey found 67% of people say sharing a meal remind them of the importance of connecting with other people, and 54% say it reminds them to slow down and take a break.

Those surveyed say they are more likely (59%) to make healthier food choices when eating with other people but have difficulty aligning schedules with their friends or family to do so, according to the survey. Overall, respondents reported eating alone about half of the time.

The American Heart Association’s survey also identified the majority (65%) of adults say they are at least somewhat stressed and more than a quarter (27%) are extremely or very stressed. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of survey respondents who are employed full or part-time said they would feel less stressed at work if they had more time to take a break and share a meal with a co-worker.

The American Heart Association offers free recipes, conversation starters and more at heart.org/together.

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