Blog | Tuesday, May 5, 2009

C'est la vie!

A new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reveals that the French spend more time sleeping (8.5 hours a day on average) and eating (over two hours a day, nearly double the time spent by Americans or Canadians) than any of the OECD's 30 member countries. It's one of the more intriguing of the evolving social trends identified in the OECD's latest edition of "Society at a Glance."

Being well-rested and amply fed apparently confers some signficant health benefits as the French are also noted as having one of the longest average lifespans of the 30 countries--88.4 years on average for women, second only to the Japanese, and 77.3 for men, two years less than the hearty Swiss and Icelandic men. (With all that time spent in bed, it comes as little surprise that the French also have one of the highest fertility rates of countries studied.)

Other interesting findings from the report include that Norwegians have the most leisurely lifestyle, with just over a quarter of their time spent on leisure activities. By comparison, Mexicans spend the least amount of their time (16%) on leisurely pursuits. Unfortunately, most people seem to squander what free time they have watching TV, which accounts for nearly half of all leisure time in Mexico and Japan.

A telling statistic, considering the obesity epidemic, is the small amount of time devoted to exercise. Spain ranks highest, but hardly merits bragging rights with just 13% of leisure time spend on physical activities. The Turks may be the most well-adjusted, choosing to spend 35% of their free time entertaining friends.