Families Eating and Talking Together


The Families EAT Together Study was a research project designed to examine what occurs during family mealtimes in the home. Working closely with a group of researchers from the University of Illinois-Chicago, project investigators studied how family mealtimes and routines relate to life outcomes. Specifically, they observed families in the Urbana-Champaign community and in the Chicago area. This project will helped researchers better understand what families talk about during mealtimes, and how the meals and mealtime discussions relate to outcomes of health and well-being for family members. Researchers were also interested in exploring how family mealtimes (and discussions during said mealtimes) are similar and different between urban, semi-urban, and rural settings in Illinois. This project will help identify positive family events and routines that can promote health and healthy development with families. Additionally, the Families EAT Together study better defined similarities and differences in how family mealtimes affect Illinois families differently depending on family and community differences, such as whether the family lives in an urban or semi-urban setting or in a rural setting.

Downloadable Overview

Families Eating and Talking Together Overview PDF

Research Team

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Blake Jones, PhD, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies (now at Purdue University)
  • Barbara Fiese, PhD, Family Resiliency Center Director, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, PhD, Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Community Health
  • Janet Liechty, PhD, Associate Professor, Social Work
  • Kelly Bost, PhD, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
  • LaTesha Washington, Graduate Student
  • Tamika Wilkins, Graduate Student
  • Sara Gilman, Participant Family Recruiter
  • Kevin Thomas, Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • Lauren Sieczko, Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • Yue Hong, Undergraduate Research Assistant
  • Andrea Kazaniwskyj, Undergraduate Researcher
  • Claire Sereiko, Undergraduate Researcher
  • Michael Levi, Undergraduate Researcher

University of Illinois at Chicago, Cancer Center

  • Marian L. Fitzgibbon, PhD, Professor, Institute for Health Research and Policy
  • Angela Odoms-Young, PhD, Associate Professor, Institute for Health Research and Policy
  • Michael L. Berbaum, PhD, Professor, Institute for Health Research and Policy
  • Maria L. Caceras, Research Coordinator


This research was funded by the University of Illinois at Chicago Cancer Center 2010 Pilot Grant Program.

Contact Information

Brenda Koester
Assistant Director, Family Resiliency Center
Phone: 217-244-6486

Email: bkoester@illinois.edu