Overweight? Depressed? Stop Gaming You Fool!

By Mike on 5:24 pm

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Feeling a little bloated and sad lately? Your PS3 or Xbox 360 might be your "X Factor" according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a study by the CDC in conjunction with Andrews University and Emory University, it was found that gamers on average are 35 years of age, overweight, and prone to depression. 552 people between the ages of 19 and 90 in the Seattle-Tacoma region of Washington State were surveyed. 249 respondents reported themselves to be gamers with 56% of them being male. Men who played games were found to be heavier than their non-gamer counterparts and also reported higher levels of Internet usage than society at large. Female gamers showed higher occurrences of clinical depression and were found to be generally less healthy than non-gaming women.

"Health risk factors differentiated adult video game players from non-players," National Center for Health Marketing researcher James Weaver said in a statement. "Video game players also reported lower extroversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns." The CDC equated gaming to "digital self-medication" citing that people play games to "literally take their mind of their worries."

Critics have attacked this study due to the relatively small sample size and its limits to a single geographical area. In a country as vast as the United States, life styles and attitudes vary widely from coast to coast. Health concerns over video games are nothing new. They have been blamed for rising obesity rates among children over the past decade. Similar parallels can be drawn to studies on children and television in the 1950s, when TV was believed to cause similar mental health problems. Rather than being the problem, video game addictions are a symptom of much larger issues that the health care systems in a wide variety of countries have failed to address, forcing people to find methods to self-medicate mental health problems. Rather than blame the medium, the medical community needs to look inward as to how it can offer better mental health support.

Source: DailyTech

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