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Family Meals/Commensality

Commensality is the practice of eating with others, and commensal units are groups that assemble to share meals. The family is the most fundamental unit, but commensality also takes place in cafeterias, dormitories, workplaces, hospitals, nursing homes, barracks, and jails. Commensal circles are relationships that set the boundaries for who is included and excluded from eating arrangements. Most scholarly attention has been paid to household meals, especially to households with children. In the United States, about 80% of parents and teenagers report that family meals are important. Regular participation in family mealtimes appears to have a positive effect on the health and well-being of children and on the development of social capital and civil society. On the other hand, commensality may be associated with rigid ...

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