A study among children, particularly boys, says that those who spent more than 1.5 hours on either watching television or playing video games a day, were 75.4% more likely to be overweight or obese. That is a huge number. But how is playing video game and obesity related? Let us see.
There are two factors. The primary factor is a direct decrease in physical activity among children who regularly play video games. The secondary factor is the increase in food intake while children play video games no matter they are hungry or not. In other words, video games increase appetite for sugary, fattening food. The reason is, the brain becomes fatigued while playing the video games and craves for glucose which is the only source of fuel for the brain. This increase in sugary food that is basically a worse form of carbohydrate. Over a period of time, they are habituated and this increases the chances of obesity.
Playing a video game is not in anyways playing in the real sense of having a physical activity. But rather like TV viewing, no physical activity is involved. The more a child plays video games, the more the child is addicted to it. More the addiction, more the consumption of unwanted junk food. Hence it is a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped by all means.
Now there are options like active video games which have some sort of physical activity like bowling a ball in cricket, serving a ball in tennis etc., but research has found that they are not all that different from the inactive video games. A study established that those children that played active video games (no snacking involved) only lost a mere 300 grams a week which is not a great number. But on a long term the children playing active video games may gain back that weight.
So the inference is children should be encouraged to play actively outside their home with real bats and balls. Video games can be a once in a blue moon affair and cannot be encouraged to get addicted to. Stay hungry for health, play outside more.
Dr Maran is an experienced Surgeon in the field of Gastro-enterology. He specializes in Advanced laparoscopic Surgery procedures of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tracts. Dr. Maran is also a leading Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai and has a penchant for addressing problems concerning Obesity.