In Louisiana, where the humidity is as thick as the gumbo, people prefer to take it slow. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor sporting activity may have earned Louisiana the nickname "Sportsman's Paradise," but new data indicate that the more popular pastimes are sleeping, goofing off, and watching television.
Some cite the climate, others the lifestyle, infrastructure, or health education in the area. Peter Katzmarzyk, associate executive director at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., notes that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas are in the Lower Mississippi Delta region, which is "very poor, has poor medical service, and is hot, humid, and has few opportunities for physical activity," he says. Obesity, physical activity, and nutrition — some of the state's biggest issues — are the center's priority research areas.
While residents in developed areas such as New Orleans, a compact city with sidewalks, gyms, and outdoor events, have opportunities to be active, Louisianans in the rest of the state spend more time at sedentary activities than the average American. According to BLS data, for example, they sleep an average 8 hours and 44 minutes per day, watch an average 3 hours and 5 minutes of television, socialize for 54 minutes, and relax for 29 minutes. The average time spent working among all Louisianans — 2 hours, 41 minutes — is shorter than in all other states, according to the BLS data.
The average for the U.S. population: 8 hours, 35 minutes sleeping; 2 hours, 38 minutes watching television; 44 minutes socializing; 18 minutes relaxing; and 3 hours, 23 minutes working. Looked at another way, Louisianans over the course of a year spend on average 3,285 more minutes sleeping and 9,855 more minutes watching television than the national average.
In North Dakota, the least inactive state, people sleep 8 hours, 4 minutes; watch 2 hours, 19 minutes of television; socialize for 40 minutes; and relax for 22 minutes. The average time North Dakotans spend working is just over 5 hours.