More Sitting, Less Doing

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More Sitting, Less Doing

Where do people spend the most time sitting around? While physical activities—such as exercising, hiking, biking, swimming, and other sports—are popular in some states, sedentary pastimes are preferred in others.

Businessweek.com ranked the country's laziest states based on five years (2004-08) of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, which averages the time spent each day on various activities across the population ages 15 and older, including people who did not do the activity at all. We evaluated the amount of leisure time spent on physically inactive pursuits, such as sleeping, watching television, relaxing, thinking, socializing, playing board games, and surfing the Internet (the U.S. average is 12 hours, 58 minutes). We considered these metrics against factors such as time spent exercising and playing sports in each state (the national average is 17 minutes), time spent working, and the state's median age. The final ranking only includes states where residents spend more free time doing sedentary activities than the U.S. average.

States in the South and on the East Coast are heavily represented on the list, with the country's three laziest states being Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Climate and age play a factor in slowing down the pace of life, as does the local lifestyle. Meanwhile, residents of North Dakota and Hawaii reported the least amount of inactive leisure time. As a reference point, we have also noted each state's obesity rate, although obesity was not used to determine this ranking.

Click here to see America's 20 laziest states.