Study sheds light on US TV viewing habits

MUMBAI: Americans love TV. We all know that. But a study commissioned by the US labour department shows us how desperately they have become addicted to TV. The survey revealed that folks in Bush country spent half of their leisure time of 5.1 hours daily staying glued to the idiot box.

What's more Americans are also spending a lot of time on their backs in bed - fast asleep. The survey states that the average American spent 8.6 hours a day sleeping in 2003.

And what about work? Lo behold, Americans work for only 3.7 hours daily.

Is there a lesson that a large part of the populace in Asia - which slogs from morning to evening but yet has a lower standard of living- has to learn from these stats ? Does watching TV and sleeping a lot lead to riches like in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale? Of course not, that's meant to be a joke.

The US study included everyone from working parents with almost no free time to retirees and teenagers. This helps explain why this average day does not reflect anyone's actual day.

Not surprisingly working parents aged 25-54 had just 2.6 hours to spend on leisure.The telephone survey covered 21,000 people over the age of 15 and was conducted throughout 2003.

Respondents were asked to recount 24 hours of activity from the previous day. When not watching the idot box the typical American spent 41 minutes socialising, 22 minutes reading, 20 minutes on sports or recreation, 20 minutes relaxing and thinking and 17 minutes playing games often on the computer.

American men typically had more leisure than women (can we see some I-told-you scowls on the faces of readers who are women). Men lazed around for 5.4 hours as compared to women's 4.8 hours.One thing that has to be borne in mind is that the study only considered respondents' primary activity. For instance if a person watched television while ironing clothes or eating dinner, only one activity was counted.

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