back to article French lead world in eating and sleeping

It's official: The bleedin' French spend more of their time crashed out or eating than any other nation in the 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. This non-shock revelation - confirming long-held Brit suspicions that our Gallic cousins do little more than stuff their faces with …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Even so ...

    The French, although they have very high-fat diets also have a very low rate of obesity. They also smoke very heavily but have a far lower lung cancer rate in their population.

    They drink a lot of alcohol too but have very low alcoholism and binge-drink fuelled crime compared with the UK (though that's generally true in Europe, not just France).

    It reminds me of Woody Allen's Sleeper -- how they laughed at us when we thought red meat, cream cakes and smoking was bad for the health!

  2. Alain Godet

    Easy to spend more time eating than the Brits

    Our food is (by far) better !

    And, I could be a bad guy if I'd say our wives are also better in bed, which explains why we spend so much time there ;) (but that's only joking, while it is true for food !)

  3. raving angry loony

    and yet

    per hour, they are more productive than many of the other countries. They do however work less hours.

    I've got to move back to France, damnit. Lovely lifestyle.

  4. Steve Evans

    @Greg Fleming

    Very true... I can only explain one of those... The drinking.

    Thanks to our 11pm "everybody out!" licensing laws, us Brits evolved the ability to sink 12 hours worth of booze in 3 hours. This in itself wouldn't be too much of a problem if the then sozzled people weren't all thrown out of all the pub doors into the local high street at exactly the same time! Could you think of a better recipe for conflict?

    Luckily the 11pm closing as been relaxed a bit in recent years. Unfortunately it's going to take a while for the glass lifting right arm action to be slowed down enough for us to make it much past 2am without serious alcohol poisoning!

    Oh, and we all know who's fault those opening hours were... The French... (Well okay, it was the Germans, but if the French had sorted them out on their own in 1914 we wouldn't have needed that 11pm law!).

  5. Peyton

    highly annoyed

    So they eat more than us (americans) yet we lead in obesity. No fair!!

    I think there's a bright side though. If modern science has taught me anything, it's that I'm free to wildly conjecture the cause for this. I'm certain that I can conclude that we need to drink more wine =)

  6. Ray
    Paris Hilton


    amen for french food and women. pity about your men...

    paris coz... COME ON! this one does NOT need explaining!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Steve Evans

    Plus which they usually start drinking wine in small quantities from the age of about five, This fosters responsibility and an attitude that wine is something which is part of food and culture and associated with proper sit-down meals within a family setting, not something to get fuckfaced on every weekend and wreak havoc on the rest of society with.

  8. J


    "So they eat more than us (americans) yet we lead in obesity. No fair!!"

    Ha, but it says they *spent more time* eating, not that they ate more... Subtle difference, innit?

    And according to Alain Godet above, they seem to have the pleasure to burn it soon enough.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    6 of one, half a dozen of another?

    "In 2005-6, "one in three girls aged between 13 and 15 said they got drunk regularly" while 32 per cent of lads of the same age admitted to overdoing the booze."

    A whole 1% difference? I knew teenage girls were all alcoholics...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @highly annoyed

    It doesn't say that they eat more than Americans, just that they spend longer eating, that's a very important distinction to make. Both US and UK companies often give their staff lunch breaks that are far too short and people have a habit of eating at their desks, both of which encourage people to rush their meals and eat too much (it takes time for your digestive system to tell you you've had enough). It's the same reason why the UK has a problem with binge drinking.

  11. Geoffrey W Silver badge

    @Peyton (Highly Annoyed)

    <QUOTE>So they eat more than us (americans) yet we lead in obesity. No fair!!</QUOTE>

    That may not be the case. I think the study was how they spend their TIME. They probably take longer for their meals and glasses of wine, just enjoying it, and any company they may have, and not necessarily eating more. Its an enviable life style. Slow down dude! Tomorrow is soon enough.

  12. Martin Silver badge

    Because they speak French

    The French eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    The Japanese eat very little fat and also have fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    The French drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    The Japanese drink very little red wine and also have fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

    Conclusion: It's speaking English that kills you.

  13. Lal

    depression is bad for yor health !

    so eat well, drink well, sleep well and fuck well (although the story about french women is mostly wrong)


  14. Anonymous Coward

    "French lead world in eating and sleeping..."

    "...In bed when not stuffing their faces"

    What are they "eating" with their faces in bed?

  15. kain preacher Silver badge

    @Steve Evans

    You got to be shitting me , out by 11pm.l That's a joke. Most places here in the US its 2am. NV its 24/7 if you have more than one bar in a place .

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like they need an excuse

    Like they need an excuse to be even more arrogant than they were before....

  17. John

    To paraphrase Douglas Adams

    The Brits think themselves superior to the French because all they do is spend their time eating and sleeping. The French think themselves superior for the same reason.

    (I think the French may have a point here!)

  18. Anonymous Coward

    between 13 and 15

    So where the hell were all these girls when I was their age (yeah, I was about 150 years ago, but still...)

  19. Anonymous Coward

    not quite right

    You got to be shitting me , out by 11pm.l That's a joke. Most places here in the US its 2am. NV its 24/7 if you have more than one bar in a place .

    Umm not quite true many places in the US last call is before 2am even on weekends. Hell the US still has dry counties where bars are not even allowed (lets be honest though nobody outside of West Texas or Utah considers these places as the US). Only place I partied in UK was Scotland and they sure didn't shutdown by 11pm. And in Germany I can't remember a bartender ever calling last call.

  20. raving angry loony

    Food isn't the issue.

    In southern France, the diet is high fat and high alcohol, yet they live longer and healthier than Brits or Americans. I've lived there. Wow.

    In southern Japan, the longest living people traditionally eat high fat pork meals with lots of strong alcohol, yet they live longer and much healthier than Brits or Americans. When I visited Okinawa and Ishigaki, and the sheer amount of greasy food was impressive.

    The ONLY thing these places have in common is: meals and drinks are social occasions rather than bingeing occasions, meals are eaten slowly, and the overall stress levels are very low due to a proper and utterly non-Puritan work/life balance.

    Work to live, don't live to work.

  21. gratou


    ...Enjoy what you are doing and do it well.

    I have found they the French routinely have more copious (3-course) lunches than the poor anglo-saxons, but they actually stop and enjoy what they have, and because of that they won't eat until dinner, and won't feel like it.

    The opposite is true elsewhere where a quickly eaten sandwich (or two ... with soda) is followed at regular intervals by more junk food, none of that is enjoyed, the craving remains, and the diet balance and calorie count are much worse at the end.

    Thankfully, they are counterweights to the sometimes crazy views of the world that would like to dominate. Darwin said it: diversity makes .. whatever he said .... the world better? or more resilent?

  22. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    @Lester Re shoplifting 13y-old mothers

    As a nation, having a high average age having the first child doesn't mean that there isn't an above average rate of child mothers as well. It could just as well be that those who didn't become mothers at 13 wait until they are 45.


  23. Phil

    French Food

    I live in France and I have to say that the quality of food is very high, and relatively affordable too. French food, that is. I love french food as much as the next guy, but having grown up in Toronot(one of, if not the most, multicultural cities in the world) I like to eat a variety of different cuisines. After almost three years here, and having travelled extensively in France, I have yet to find a decent chinese restaurant, or vietnamese, or indian, or ... you get the idea.

  24. Suburban Inmate
    Thumb Up

    35 hour working week, IIRC

    Now that's what I call democracy!

  25. Anonymous Coward


    As Alain said, the time spent in bed is not related to sleep. Is possibly related to eating, tough :-))

    As for youth drinking too much, it's true IMHO UK has a real problem, here. I've been last year for one week in the UK and I've seen once, in a pub, a 13-15 years old kid having a pint of lagger, part of an adult group !

    You don't see that at all in France.

    A french.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yuh but...

    In blighty we lead the way in random acts of violence, hooliganism, alcoholism, vandalism, probably drug abuse and who knows what else - go us! Or we'll fucking punch yer face in, innit!

  27. Chris Parsons

    @Yuh but

    Only because our 'government' show us how.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Someones been telling porkies

    "Age of mothers at first birth: Mothers in the United Kingdom have their first child at a later age

    than anyone else in the OECD. The average age at first childbirth is 29.8 years, compared to an

    OECD average of 27.7 years."

  29. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    diet etc.? Brits are not Americans

    These blanket surveys are nonsense and my Swiss wife is constantly impressed by the good British food available outside the big cities; just avoid the international chains and be a bit choosy. Saw two great survey results in the last three weeks:

    1. Briish girls are the slimmest with the biggest busts in Europe.

    2. British people are the most overweight, inactive and worst dressed in Europe. So that must be the men.

    Why the H- do so many write "British and Americans" as if we are the same? Diet, lifestyle, attitudes etc. are a world apart, USA is not even "anglo-saxon", whatever that means. It is more and more Hispanic and "afro-american" with healthy doses of Asian, Italian, Celtic (Irish).. Brits are N. Europeans by culture and the vast majority of the population and anyone with real experience of working/living in different parts of continental Europe will soon find the similarities. So compare UK habits with N. Germany, Holland, Norway, even France! UK's real problem is growing inequality and relative poverty reinforced by deteriorating education, over-population, bad government and bad public environment. As for France, great place for the most part, as is Switzerland (slimmest girls, good food, happy, healthy people and low tax, local wines are n't bad too).

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