Recreation--Russians have little leisure time because of the hours they devote to getting food, working extra jobs, or taking care of their households. Urban Russians spend their spare time at their dachas (country cottages), if they have them, relaxing and growing fruits and vegetables for the winter. There are relatively few nightclubs, and entertainment usually ends by 11;00p.m. Even Moscow is essentially dark and quiet after that hour.
The country's favorite sport is soccer. Russia's national soccer team competed in the 1994 World Cup. Winter sports such as ice skating, hockey, and cross-country skiing are particularly popular in Russia. Watching television is the most common way to spend extra time. Gathering mushrooms is a favorite summer activity. Russia has a grand and abiding heritage in cultural arts. The people highly appreciate theaters and movies, but these are available only in big cities. Rural people can watch movies at dvorets kultury (palaces of culture), which serve as community recreation centers.
is free, but the quality of service is poor. Doctors are highly
trained and qualified but lack modern equipment and medicine to
adequately treat their patients. Private clinics provide better
care but are expensive. The infant mortality rate is 26 per 1,000.
Life expectancy ranges from 64 to 74 years. Common major diseases
are alcoholism, cancer, diabetes, and heart ailments. Diphtheria,
dysentery, and other intestinal maladies are spreading.
The smorgasbord is a lavish buffet eaten on special occasions or at parties. It is not an everyday meal. A smorgasbord includes warm and cold dishes, meat, fish, and desserts. Many families have a special type of smorgasbord on Christmas Eve.
Recreation - Swedes
are sports enthusiasts. Popular sports include soccer, skiing
tennis, golf, swimming, ice hockey, bandy, and orienteering races
(using a map and compass to cross an area). Sweden's national
soccer team competed in the 1994 World Cup. Bandy is a game related
to hockey and believed to be its prototype. Skating and other
winter sports are common. Even more popular than sports are activities
such as hiking, fishing and bird-watching. The Swedes love nature
and spend as much time as possible outdoors. For many, the ideal
is owning a summer cottage for weekends and vacations. Sweden's
mountains and fells are popular destinations.
Favorite leisure activities also include reading, attending cultural events such as the theater or concerts, and watching movies and television. Most people have a great interest in music, whether modern or traditional. Singing in choirs is by far Sweden's most popular hobby, with 1.5 million participants.
Health--All Swedes are
covered by national health insurance. The government pays nearly
all fees incurred for medical care. At least 85 percent of day-care
costs are also covered. Dental fees are shared by the individual.
While basic health care is readily available, elective surgery
must often wait several months before being approved. In response
to public demand, private health-care options are now more widely
available, as are private child-care facilities. The government
pays an ill person's wages for an extended period. Parents share
a total of 12 months leave when a child is born. The infant mortality
rate is one of the lowest in the world at 6 per 1,000. Swedes
can expect to live between 75 and 81 years.
Recreation--The most popular sport for both spectators and participants is soccer, which was introduced by the British in the 19th century. Volleyball, basketball, cycling, grease wrestling, traditional wrestling, swimming, and a variety of other sports are also enjoyed. Picnics are common family activities. August is the month for most vacations. During their leisure time, urban residents may watch television, eat out, visit others, or attend movies. Woman often do volunteer work. Rural women visit one another in their homes or watch television. Men throughout the country gather at teahouses (like cafes) so socialize. When at home, they also watch television. Folk dancing and other cultural arts are popular.
provides basic health care, but it is not sufficient to meet the
country's needs. Urban facilities are generally modern and adequate,
but rural facilities are not as well equipped..Besides public
health care, institutions such as the military, state owned enterprises,
etc., provide care to their personnel. Reform measures have been
introduced to address the most serious problems, including a relatively
high infant mortality rate (46 per 1000) attributed to poor education
about child care and the lack of family planning. The government
seeks to reduce the figure to fewer than 30 by the year 2000 through
improved child immunizations, prenatal care, education, and other
programs. Life expectancy averages 72 years.
Recreation--Baseball, basketball, and American football are the most popular spectator and participation sports. Public schools provide team sports for the youth. Professional sports are an important part of the culture. Americans also enjoy soccer, cycling, jogging, and aerobic exercising. Leisure activities include watching television, going to movies, picnicking, attending music concerts, and traveling.
Health--The health problems
facing Americans are different than those in some other countries
in that sedentary lifestyle and risky physical behavior are the
two greatest causes of adult health problems. Most people must
have private insurance to receive medical care without paying
very high prices. The health network is extensive and modern,
except in some rural areas. The United States is the only industrialized
country in the world without a national (public) health-care system.
Each state has its own regulations regarding health care, and
there are some national standards as well. Public and private
reform movements are changing how health care is provided and
paid for. The United States is a world leader in medical research
and training. The infant mortality rate is 8 per 1,000. Life expectancy
ranges from 73 to 80 years.
Recreation--Vietnamese men enjoy team sports such as volleyball and soccer. Badminton, table tennis, swimming, and tennis are popular in cities. Only young, unmarried women tend to engage in sports. Urban people of all ages like to get out early in the morning to jog, do tai chi or yoga, or exercise. Men play Chinese checkers in their leisure time. Rural people have less leisure but spend it in the company of friends and relatives. Traditional music is played on a variety of stringed instruments, such as dan tranh (multiple-string) dan bau )single-string), and dan vong (modified guitar). Rural people love traditional opera; cai luong in the south and hat cheo in the north.
system offers free or low-cost medical care to all people, but
facilities are often inadequate, especially in rural areas. Every
commune has a clinic, but it may lack modern medicine for other
supplies. Traditional healing and natural medicines play an important
role in health care. People grow herbs and use local raw materials
to make medicine. Malnutrition affects a large proportion of rural
children. Vietnam's infant mortality rate is 42 per 1,000; life
expectancy ranges from 64 to 68 years.
Recreation--Soccer and basketball are the most popular sports among Palestinian Arabs. Playing cards, attending movies, and visiting friends are common activities. Camping is becoming a favorite way to spend leisure time. Gazan families enjoy having a barbecue on the beach. In fact, families often go to the beach in the evening to play, drink sodas, and relax. Adults love to socialize at coffeehouses or cafes, and many people attend performances of the cultural arts when possible. Many new cafes are being built, especially in Gaza.
are better in the West Bank than in Gaza. However, hospital and
medical care are difficult to obtain in either region. Facilities
that do exist are often inadequate. Health care is therefore another
priority of the new Palestinian government.
The United Nations sponsors some medical care programs. The infant mortality rate is much higher in these areas than in the State of Israel. In Gaza it is 31 per 1,000, while in the West Bank it is 30 per 1,000. Life expectancy ranges from 66 to 71 years, depending on gender and territory.
Recreation--Soccer is the favorite sport, but tennis, boxing, rugby, cricket, polo, bowling, field hockey, squash, golf, and horse racing are enthusiastically pursued by various segments of the population. Naturally, income and location help determine one's recreational activities. Swimming in open-air pools is a favorite pastime, but swimming in rivers and lakes is dangerous due to bilharzia (a parasite that has been carried in African rivers for centuries and infects the liver). People also enjoy watching television and going to movies.
Health--Towns and cities usually have good plumbing and sanitation systems. Rural areas often lack these, although improvements during the 1980s were substantial. The malarial mosquito has been eradicated in some areas but is still active in others. Yellow fever and other diseases are also widespread. All basic health services are free to the poor. People often turn to traditional healers for help with certain types of illnesses. The quality and availability of medical facilities varies between cities and rural areas. Clinics may be available but are usually underequipped. The infant mortality rate is 73 per 1,000. Life expectancy ranges from 41 to 45 years.