It all started with a television show on how soda is made. The program concluded saying the average American drinks 50 gallons of soda a year. I tried to visualize myself lining up 95 2-liters in the garage or pouring it all in a 50-gallon drum and just getting a straw.
And then I began to wonder: Who is this average American?
I did my own research on the research on the average American and if the numbers are to be believed, the average American is a mess.
According to David Zinczenko, author of "Eat This, Not That!," the average American consumes 24 pounds of candy a year. Multiple reports claim that the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, or 44 pounds a year.
The Palm Beach Post reported that the average American eats 1.13 cups of vegetables and 0.68 cups of fruit a day. I read that and was stunned -- how does one measure 0.68 cups of fruit or 1.13 cups of vegetables? Were the strawberries whole or smashed down in the measuring cup? Were the carrots sliced or shredded?
The average American eats more than 4 pounds of pasta, 13.8 pounds of turkey and 5.2 pounds of sweet potatoes per year. He eats only 8 pounds of berries a year, but 17.9 pounds of bacon, 120 pounds of potatoes, 21 dozen eggs, 200 sandwiches and grabs fast food more than four times a week. The average American is also likely to be overweight. Shocker.
The average American isn't sleeping so well either.
In 1960, the average Joe got eight hours of sleep a night. Today, the National Sleep Foundation reports that most people get by on less than seven hours while USA Today reports that the average American is down to about six hours.
The average American works a 46-hour week. A Microsoft study found that average Americans waste 16 work hours a week, most often attending worthless meetings or surfing the Internet.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends more than 100 hours commuting to the job (where he works some and dallies some). A Gallup poll says the average American's daily commute is 46 minutes round trip. The average American is probably eating while he drives.
The average American has about 20 hours of leisure time per week. The IRS estimates filling out a complete 1040 form with Schedules A through E will take 44 hours. Say so long to two weeks of leisure time, average American.
Meanwhile the average American teen is busy sending 3,000 text messages a month or about 100 a day. It's a wonder the average American teen has time for school.
When the average American isn't guzzling soda, unwrapping candy bars, working, sleeping, parked in front of the computer or yelling at his kid to quit texting, he is watching television. Nielsen Co. says the average American watches 35 hours and 34 minutes of television a week. For adults older than 65, those average American numbers go up to 48 hours and 54 minutes per week, which is almost three hours more than the average American's work week.
With the New Year now here a worthwhile goal might be to be a little less average.