Video Gamers at Risk for Health Problems

Boy Staring - Video GamesThe Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with a study this week that suggests that gaming habits developed as a youth carries with them into adulthood. Specifically those who played video games as a child or a teenager have a trend to become inactive and have more health issues.

The study included 552 adults between 19 and 90 in the Washington State area. Gaming once was considered a children centric activity but in this study, 50% of gamers were found to be within the 18 to 49 age while 25% were 50 and older. Those in the younger age between 8 to 34 showed many signs of addiction.

Men and Video Gaming: Health Problems

The findings show that men who play video games tend to be more overweight, have a higher BMI and spend more time online then those who did not engage in video game activities.

Women and Video Gaming: Coping Mechanism

Women on the other hand were more likely to play games as a way to get their minds off of their worries and problems. It is referred to as “digital self-medication” and unfortunately has become a coping mechanism of escape from both dealing with their problems and just dealing with reality. It also leads many to the road of game addiction.

Video Game & Media for Social Dependency

Another trend is that both men and women are showing more dependency on the online world for social engagement and support. Through social sites such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, people are more reliant on the Internet than ever for social needs.

Though this study ultimately is simply showing a correlation between video gaming and health, it does give us a picture of how video games and the internet are having a direct impact in the lives of people. Both men and women could be coping with extra time or life difficulties by playing active sports or talking with friends. However media consumption, whether that be video games, movies, or surfing the internet, has become a popular alternative to simply push out worries and not deal with it.

I can readily admit that when life troubles comes my way it is easy to want to ignore it for a while by distracting myself with something to do. Games, Movies, Music all being one click away doesn’t help. How about you?

  • How do you cope with downtime?
  • How do you cope with life worries?
  • Do you know of people or perhaps do you often use media as an escape mechanism?

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