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Food - Family Meals, Food And Culture, Food Security

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily & Marriage Traditions


Food and families are two topics in which everyone claims some expertise. Families are made up of people who eat food. Both families and food contribute to a person's physical and social well being throughout life.

Dictionary definitions of food include terms such as nourishing, sustaining growth, or furnishing energy. People recognize that food is necessary for the physical survival of their families. Although sometimes the purpose of food intake is only to satisfy hunger, the role of food in families goes much further than meeting physical needs.

Food structures families' schedules, provides social activity, defines relationships, and represents ethnic identities. Food is part of family celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals. Food-related health concerns such as malnutrition and obesity impact family members' emotions and their relationships with each other. For some families, food is easily accessible. Other families are starving. Through food demands and concerns, families shape societies and societies influence families. The purpose of this entry is to describe the importance of food to families by examining international examples of the many connections between family and food.


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