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Life in Brief — week of Oct. 13

Midwesterners spend less on lunch per week

When it comes to buying lunch, Midwesterners are the thriftiest diners in the nation, according to a survey by Visa, which surveyed lunch-buying habits and analyzed them by region and gender.

The credit card company found Americans typically buy lunch out almost twice a week and spend about $10 each time. Average spending was $18 per week, or $936 per year.

But spending patterns varied by region, and Midwest diners spend less on lunches out than people in any other part of the country, the results showed. They went out 1.7 times per week and spent only $8.90 each time, a weekly average of $15.13.

Southerners led per-week spending, going out twice a week and spending $10 each time, or $20 a week. Westerners spend $10 per lunch 1.8 times a week for a total of $18. Northeasterners lunched out the least, but spent the most, dining out for their midday meal 1.5 times a week but dropping $11.40 each time, for a weekly total of $17.10.

Visa found that men not only go out more often, but also order more, spending an average of $21 a week compared with $15 for women.

Some findings were more surprising: People making under $25,000 annually reported spending an average of $11.70 per lunch, more than any other income group. People earning over $50,000 a year spent an average of just $9.60 per lunch.

Thirty percent of respondents say they don’t buy lunch out at all.

— Sylvia Rector

Detroit Free Press

Hints from Heloise:

Bike shorts help add coverage under dress

Joyce in Illinois writes: Sometimes when I am wearing dresses, I feel like I need a little extra support or coverage. I bought a couple of cotton bike shorts in different colors. I can easily slip them on underneath a dress. It gives me support while still allowing me to breathe.

— King Features

Study shows fans behave badly after team’s loss

Psychologists studying the effect of losing on sports fans are identifying an increasing number of ways in which fans behave badly after a loss.

In late August, marketing scientists from a French business school found Americans eat more junk food after their NFL team gets beaten.

The scientists collected dietary information on more than 700 people on Sundays and the following Monday and Tuesday. When the local team lost, people ate 16 percent more saturated fat and 10 percent more calories than the day before, whereas fans of winning teams ate significantly less.

Psychologists caution that this is a small study, but it’s consistent with a raft of other research that claims to show fans of losing teams engage in more bad behavior after a loss.

A 2011 study by California researchers found a 10 percent increase in the rate of domestic violence after upset losses, but no increase after games in which a favorite team wasn’t expected to win.

For some people, the pain of a loss may lead to bad driving, possibly caused by excess alcohol. A study in 2003 found a 68 percent increase in traffic fatalities after a Super Bowl telecast in the state of a losing team, relative to other Sunday nights. Traffic fatalities increased just 6 percent in the states of winning teams.

Other studies have found an increase in cardiac deaths and other ailments in the fans of losing teams and a decrease in those of winning teams.

— Eric Berger

Houston Chronicle



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