By Elaine Ganley
The Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — The French are living up to their image as lovers of food and, according to a survey, can add a new love to the mix: sleep. In fact, the French excel at the two leisure activities, spending more time at table and in bed than many other nations.
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) looked at the use of leisure time among 18 of its 30 member countries.
Norwegians spend the most time at leisure — just over a quarter of their day — while Mexicans, at the low end, spend just 16 percent of their time having fun.
The French still win in the sleeping and eating categories, spending on average nearly nine hours a day in bed. For the French, leisure continues in the waking hours, with more than two hours a day spent eating and drinking — nearly twice as much time at the table as Americans, Canadians, or Mexicans.
Americans also like their sleep, spending some eight and a half hours a day doing just that.
Despite the moderate amount of time Americans spend eating each day — about an hour and a quarter — U.S. obesity rates are the highest in the 30-member OECD, with 34 percent of the American population with a Body Mass Index, or BMI, over the critical 30 mark. The lowest obesity rates are found in Korea, followed by Japan, with fewer than 4 percent of the population with a BMI over 30.
The Koreans fell at the low end of the sleep spectrum, getting 7.8 hours a day, with the Japanese not far behind.
The profiles on the use of leisure time were constructed by the OECD using 2006 data from the 18 member countries for which up to date surveys on use of time were available.
TV ranks high among leisure activities in Japan; it takes up 55 percent of free time there, compared to a low of 25 percent in New Zealand.
The Turks are the most sociable population. They spend more than 35 percent of their time entertaining, compared to an OECD average of 11 percent. ♦