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Friday, 19 May, 2000, 06:13 GMT 07:13 UK
A nation of couch potatoes

One fifth of Britons spend as much time watching television during the week as working.

A survey by Alliance and Leicester found that 21% of respondents watched 36 hours of television a week - more than five hours a day on average.

An average week
34% work more than 36 hours
21% watch 36 hours of TV
14% spend an hour online each week

This was true of both men and women, across all age groups.

About one-third of the 1,000 adults surveyed said they worked more than 36 hours a week.

Alliance & Leicester spokesman Arif Darr said it was alarming how many people spent hours glued to the box.

"With so many demands placed on our everyday lives, it is tempting to find solace in the comfort of the front room, rather than exercise or socialise or sort out our money matters."

Couch potatoes

The time spent enjoying other pastimes fell way below that of staring at the television.

TV
Glued to the box: The nation's pastime of choice

More than one quarter set aside two hours a week for shopping, with men and women almost neck-and-neck - 29% compared with 27%. Scots topped the list of shopaholics, with 12% spending more than 15 hours a week shopping.

Just 14% of respondents clocked up an hour surfing the internet a week - but among 16- to 25-year olds, one in three were online for two hours a week.

And one in five had yet to catch on to the delights of lingering over a meal, spending just one hour a day eating.

Money matters took up more time than intimate moments with a loved one.

More than half of the respondents spent at least two hours a week sorting out their finances - paying bills, going to the bank, and trying to work out just what was the difference between a mini and maxi ISA.

One in six 16 to 25-year-olds spent the same amount of time making love, compared to 40% of married couples and 44% of 65-year-olds.

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