40 Hours of Golf: Is Obama's Working Vacation Like Yours?


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Amid briefings, calls with world leaders and statements on national events, President Obama has managed to squeeze in three rounds of golf and even a little beach time. While Bloomberg reports Obama is on track to put in 40 hours of golf during his two week vacation, the White House is working hard to show the nation their president is still at work.

The working vacation: an American malady.

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We've all heard the statistics: taking a vacation reduces stress and promotes mental health. A recent study by the American Sociological Association (ASA) even cites research saying that frequent vacationing over multiple years lowers the risk of heart attacks. And still we don't get away from the office – and chide the Chief Executive who does.

Since 1977, Sweden has had legislation providing for five weeks of paid vacation each year – and encourages workers to take four consecutive weeks during the summer. The ASA says the Swedish are on to something. In fact, the more the merrier.

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The study finds that when a nation vacations, the benefits mount. This "group renewal" – whether you vacation alone or with friends – is defined as a time when many people go on holiday at the same time. It likely reduces the risk of depression and, the study says, lowers the use of prescription anti-depressants.

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"The results fit the theory that concentrated vacationing supports collective restoration that also benefits those who are not themselves on vacation from paid work," the study says. "Our results suggest that by enabling more people to spend more time together in more restorative contexts, vacation legislation like that in Sweden supports processes of collective as well as individual restoration. When many workers take much vacation time, it may benefit population mental health over and above the benefit that accrues when more than expected workers take a relatively small amount of vacation time."

Perhaps this is a good proposal to include in Obamacare 2.0: multi-week national holidays that force Americans to take time off from work, thereby reducing the number of necessary prescriptions and lowering healthcare costs.

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The last one to leave the office, please turn off the lights.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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