Forget teens, gamers are 35, overweight and sad, CDC says

CDC study shows that gamers suffer from multiple health risks

When you think of a hard-core gamer, do you picture a teenage boy battling his friends in World of Warcraft?

Think again.

The average gamer, far from being a teen, actually is a 35-year-old man who is overweight, aggressive, introverted and... often depressed, according to a report out this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ( download PDF). The study also showed that the when children and teenagers become game players, a trend toward physical inactivity and corresponding health problems extends and exacerbates into adulthood.

"Among researchers, there is growing concern and uncertainty about the health consequences of video game playing," the CDC reported. "Given the ubiquity of video games -- industry estimates suggest that they are played in 65% of American households -- these concerns may be justified."

The study notes that half of gamers are between 18 and 49 years old, while 25% are 50 and older. The CDC also pointed out that of online gamers aged 8 to 34, nearly 12% showed multiple signs of addiction.

The study, based on a 2006 online survey of 552 people between the ages of 19 and 90 who were living in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington state, also shows differences between male and female gamers.

Men reported that gaming gives them a "reason to get together," while women are looking more for a diversion that social interaction. Despite their differing reasons for playing, many of the health effects remained the same.

Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat, noted that his concern isn't just with gaming but with social networks, as well.

"My issue is that it's not just gaming. It's social networking. It's the Web in general," said McGregor. "We've gained so much, but still it puts people in front of a computer screen for hours on end. It gives Americans just another reason to be fat, dumb and lazy."

According to the CDC, both male and female gamers were more likely to report being overweight, having more poor-mental-health days and being less socially outgoing. Women, however, were more apt to deal with depression and report more health issues than women who aren't gamers. For men, they reported more obesity.

"One interpretation of these findings is that, among women, video-game playing may be a form of digital self-medication.... In short, they can literally take their minds off their worries while playing a video game." noted the CDC. "Among men, the association among sedentary behaviors, physical inactivity and overweight status observed in children and young adults may extend into adulthood."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags gamescdc

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?