Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention Urges Family to Take the Family Dinner Challenge

New Jersey – With today’s hectic lifestyles, it is often difficult for families to find time to sit down and have dinner together. Parents’ work schedules, combined with their child’s extracurricular activities and family obligations, push gathering around the table for a nightly meal off the to-do list.


During National Prevention Week, celebrated May 20 – 26, Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention (IFP), urges families to take the “Family Dinner Challenge” and try to have at least three family dinners together. During this week, families are encouraged to visit Barnabas Health IFP’s Facebook page at to:

  • Share healthy and easy recipes 
  • Offer tips and strategies to other families
  • Let IFP know they’ve met the goal of having three family dinners during the week

At the end of the Week, each person who has posted about the Family Dinner Challenge on the IFP’s Facebook page will be entered into a random drawing to win four movie tickets! Please note: Only one entry per person, regardless of the number of Facebook posts during the week and you must be a Facebook “friend” of Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention to be eligible for the raffle.

“Research from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has shown that teens who have dinner with their families, five or more times each week, are almost twice as likely to receive A’s in school compared with teens who have dinner with their families two or fewer times a week,” says Alyson Zilai, MS, Program Coordinator for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention’s Strengthening Families Program.

For more than 15 years, IFP has been offering the Strengthening Families Program to parents, guardians, grandparents and their children throughout New Jersey. This free 14-week program, recognized by the World Health Organization, teaches families how to improve communication skills, develop effective conflict resolution techniques, set goals and establish family meetings. One of the hallmarks of the Strengthening Families Program is a complimentary catered dinner which starts each weekly session.

“The more families eat together the less likely children are to get involved with drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other risky behaviors,” explains Zilai. Families who eat together are also more likely to make healthier food choices and avoid foods high in fat and calories.

For more information about Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, upcoming Strengthening Families Programs or the Family Dinner Challenge, please visit