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Researchers reveal: Do video games really promote obesity?
A new study looked at whether it is true that children, teenagers, and adults who spend a lot of time playing computer games are fatter than other people. The researchers found that the cliché is correct - but only for some people.
Not all assumptions are correct
Computer games are extremely popular with children and adolescents as well as with many adults. Many people are worried about this. Because such games should promote aggression and obesity. On the former assumption, a study was published last year that concluded that the impact of such games is not that negative. And now researchers have investigated whether people who play computers intensively are actually obese.
Study situation contradicts the stereotype
A chubby teen sits for hours on the sofa with the controller in hand, next to it the greasy chips and the unhealthy cola on the coffee table.
Many people imagine typical gamers like this or something similar. That is why the prejudice that makes video games intensive playing fat is widespread. But is that really the case?
"The study situation in children and adolescents contradicts the stereotype, in adults there are small connections between computer games and body mass," explains Professor Markus Appel, communication psychologist at the Julius Maximilians University (JMU) in Würzburg, in a message.
Researchers from JMU (Markus Appel, Caroline Marker) and the Johannes Kepler University Linz and the Leibniz Institute for Educational Pathways in Bamberg (Professor Timo Gnambs) used a meta-analysis to evaluate a total of 20 meaningful studies with over 38,000 participants.
However, the relationship between video games and obesity or body mass is only shown to a small extent. Only one percent of individual overweight can therefore be explained by the time spent with video games.
No connection found in younger people
According to the information, the connection could only be demonstrated in adults, but not in children and adolescents.
"Obese people may be more likely to stay true to their hobby of video games as they move into adulthood, while new leisure activities become more important for others," said Appel.
In the past, some researchers had dealt with the question of how video games and obesity are related.
"Obesity and obesity are usually associated with sitting media consumption, such as watching TV or inactive video games," reports the research team in its current study, which was published in the journal "Social Science and Medicine".
But the individual investigations came to different results, hence the current comparison.
Why is there a connection?
"We found a significant indirect effect, which shows that people who spend more time playing video games also spend less time doing sports and therefore have a higher body weight or body mass," writes the team from Würzburg and Linz.
Other factors, such as an unhealthy diet before the game console or lack of sleep, could not be checked due to too few studies.
As stated in the communication, the researchers only considered non-active video games in their current analysis - that is, games that can be played while sitting.
Active video games like Wii-Sports or Pokémon Go, which require movement, were deliberately not taken into account. (ad)