Harmless Play or Fast-Food Fulfillment?

Would you believe me if I told you that children who play video games are far more likely to be obese than children who watch lots of TV? Psychiatric studies are actually showing us that TV viewing doesn’t relate to obesity as expected and that video game use is far more likely to be related to an unhealthy weight status. Who would have thought? There’s a lot of controversy surrounding video games and their negative effects on children. When I got involved in researching the subject, I was not expecting much of what I found.

About a year ago, Thomas Umstattd told me that he wanted me to do research on the dangers of digital gaming for his forthcoming book on the subject. Thomas, a former “hard-core” gamer, believes that a mighty army of God will rise from the computer screen “cave.” An amazing vision, and I was very willing to help out.

I was personally never a hard-core gamer. A lot of that is my Parent’s fault. (They, by the way, are more than willing to take credit for the fact that I didn’t turn into a zombie.) Sure I played more than I should, but I usually found something more interesting and moved on. Basketball, speech and debate, or whatever. When I started to research the lives of hard-core gamers, I was really amazed by what I found. Earlier this month, I posted a research paper that addresses some of the research I uncovered. You can see it here at CGames.com. I would absolutely love to get comments from YOU.

Now you’re probably wondering if I just blurted out that first question to shock you or if I actually had some support. Well, here are the studies with no guarantee that they’re infallible. A researcher at the University of Texas along with her college found that “…when parental obesity is taken into account, television viewing hours do not significantly relate to increased odds of childhood overweight…” (Vandewater and Huang 2006, 425). Wow. This was not some back-woods study performed by three geeks and their puppy dog. Vandewater and Haung studied 1483 6-19 year olds. Yeah, I thought that was out of this world, but it is true.

Elizabeth Vandewater (that professor at UT) along with a research team had, two years earlier, concluded that video games ARE very different in that they ARE correlated to obesity. This study questioned 2831 one to twelve year olds! Quote:

“Results indicated that while television use was not related to children’s weight status, video game use was.” (Vandewater et al. 2004, 71)

Pretty wild, hu? Want to learn more about the dangers (which include, but are not limited to, ruined health) of fast-food digital entertainment? You can visit CGames.com.

Resources: (check it out for yourself)

B. Morgan. “MMO: A Minor’s Massive Obsession.” CGames.com blog, 3 June 2008. http://www.cgames.com/2008/06/mmo-a-minors-massive-obsession (My Paper!)

Elizabeth A. Vandewater, Mi-suk Shim, and Allison G. Caplovitz. “Linking obesity and activity level with children’s television and video game use.” Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004): 71–85. (accessed via science direct)

E.A. Vandewater and X. Huang. “Parental weight status as a moderator of the relationship between television viewing and childhood overweight.” Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine 160.4 (April 2006): 425-31. (accessible via PubMed or the Archives: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/160/4/425)


2 Responses

  1. Your last link to cgames.com is sending me to “http://www.blogger.com/www.cgames.com” which doesn’t exist. You might want to try changing that.Nice post by the way.

  2. Woops! Now that has been fixed.> Brian

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