Family Meals and Child Academic and Behavioral Outcomes


  • We gratefully acknowledge support from Grants R01HD047215-05 and R24HD058486 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NICHD or the National Institutes of Health.

concerning this article should be addressed to Daniel P. Miller, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study investigates the link between the frequency of family breakfasts and dinners and child academic and behavioral outcomes in a panel sample of 21,400 children aged 5–15. It complements previous work by examining younger and older children separately and by using information on a large number of controls and rigorous analytic methods to discern whether there is causal relation between family meal frequency (FMF) and child outcomes. In child fixed-effects models, which controlled for unchanging aspects of children and their families, there were no significant (< .05) relations between FMF and either academic or behavioral outcomes, a novel finding. These results were robust to various specifications of the FMF variables and did not differ by child age.