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Video Games Link To Obesity Broken

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YOUNG gamers rejoice - video games may not necessarily make you fat. A study of schoolchildren in the US suggests the pastime is not driving childhood obesity.

Previous studies of adults and those in their late teens have found that playing video games and watching TV is linked with a slightly higher body mass index (BMI) than non-gamers and those who watch less TV than average, supporting the common view that "screen time" - a sedentary activity - contributes to obesity.

A team at Michigan State University in East Lansing selected a group of 482 12-year-olds and followed them for three years. Parents and children responded to six waves of surveys covering each child's internet use, how much they played video games and how often they used a cellphone. Parents were also asked about their children's exam scores, height, weight, race and socioeconomic status, while the kids were tested in reading, mathematics, visuospatial recognition and self-esteem.

The team found that while video games were used more than the internet and cellphones, none of these activities predicted a child's weight or BMI. Instead they found that race, age and socioeconomic status were the strongest predictors (Computers and Human Behavior, vol 27, p 599).

The researchers also found some benefits of technology use: children who used the internet more had higher test scores in reading. Those who played more video games had better visuospatial skills, though also lower school grades and lower self-esteem.

@newsscientist

Also http://kotaku.com/5738919/can-we-stop-blaming-games-for-childhood-obesity-now

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