Amongst seventeen of the world’s most powerful economic nations, the French spend the most time at the table in a given day. Eating, that is.
This according to a report published in late 2009 by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, one of the world’s foremost compilers of economic and social data.
Taking it a step further, a New York Times reporter took the time to collate this data into a chart and compare it against average obesity rates in several nations. Her point being that in many cases, the more minutes a day spent eating, the lower the obesity rates, the healthier the folk, and so on (see USA vs. France)
While their report only covers the 17 (economically-significant and sufficiently ‘democratized’ ) nations which make up the organisation (although talks are currently in progress with up to ten more). it’s nonetheless a thrilling snapshot of how various nations order their time.
According to their website:
The amount and quality of leisure time is important for people’s well-being for the direct satisfaction it brings. Additionally, leisure, taken in certain ways, is important for physical and mental health. Leisure also contributes to the well-being of people other than the person directly enjoying leisure. When a person engages in leisure, the benefits gained are shared with others in a multitude of ways, including improvements in personal relationships, family functioning, and in terms of creation of social capital networks (at least from some types of shared leisure). Leisure time patterns across the OECD therefore warrant investigation as an important part of social monitoring.