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True or False – Americans have more free time today than they did in 1965?

Posted on April 24, 2014

True. imgres

We’ve all had our share of those days where we’ve felt like we couldn’t get everything accomplished that we needed to; much less have any free time.  However, research suggests that we actually have gained about five hours of free time per week as compared to the 1960’s (Robinson & Godbey, 1997).  It is interesting that even though the amount of free time we have has increased, most Americans state that they feel more rushed and they think they actually have less free time.  So, what makes up free time?  Most researchers would consider things like watching TV, listening to music, reading, hobbies, socializing, recreational activities, sports, adult education, and even religious activities as free time.  Essentially, things you do in your free time involve maximum choice on your part.  Think of free time activities as being activities that are not essential to your life or survival.  Things you might do that would not be considered free time would include sleeping, eating, grooming, taking care of your kids, housework, and working at a job that pays you wages.  Contrary to what some might believe, checking your friend’s status on Face book and watching TV are not essential to survival.  Robinson & Godbey also state that 1) middle aged, college educated, married parents, where both spouses work have the least amount of free time, 2) that people in urban areas have about one hour more per week of free time compared to those in rural areas, and 3) we have nearly 40 hours of free time per week (5 hours each weekday, 6 hours on Saturday, and over 7 hours on Sunday).  Most people overestimate how much time they spend at work and underestimate how much free time they have.  It’s not uncommon for someone to say that they are very busy and that they don’t have time for things like exercise, yet they will watch 3 or 4 hours of TV a day!


Robinson J & Godbey G: Time for Life: The Surprising ways Americans use Their Time (1997), The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA.

True or False – Wearing a tight hat leads to hair loss?

Posted on April 1, 2014

False. image40

Hair loss can be a traumatic experience for both men and women.  Right or wrong, our society places a great deal of emphasis on appearance, and many people take pride in having a thick, full head of hair.  Hair loss is common in later life, especially among men; however, many individuals start to experience hair loss in their early to mid 20’s.  The hair care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and a significant portion of the money spent on hair care is spent on products related to hair loss.  Discussions on hair loss and baldness have been occurring for a long time.  I ran across an interesting article entitled The Prophylaxis of Baldness, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1903.  Our understanding of the cause of hair loss is much different today than it was in the early 1900’s.  It is not true that wearing a hat, even a tight hat, contributes to hair loss.  Some have speculated that this myth came about after men who entered the military noticed they started to lose their hair shortly after enlisting.  Many of these men felt their hair loss was related to wearing tight military hats and helmets.  In reality, their hair loss likely would have started to occur whether they joined the military or not.  I read a large number of scientific articles that addressed the causes of hair loss.  These articles identified factors such as genetics, skin diseases, nutrition, trauma, medications, and endocrine disorders as legitimate contributors to hair loss (there are many more).  However, not a single article mentioned the dangers of wearing hats.  An article published in Consumer Reports on Health stated “This myth may have arisen in part because people often wear hats to cover their balding heads.  And tight hats do not restrict blood flow in the scalp sufficiently to harm the hair follicles”.


Consumer Reports on Health (2007), Vol 19, pg 7.