NEWS - Thursday, July 1, 2004

Are You Over-Weight Because Of Video Games?

According to the June issue of Obesity Research, researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University Hospital Zurich discovered a strong correlation “between playing electronic video games and childhood obesity in school-aged Swiss children.” Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric nutrition specialist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and primary investigator of this study, stands firm behind the findings: "To our knowledge this study provides the strongest evidence for an independent association between time spent playing electronic games and childhood obesity. Our findings suggest that the use of electronic games should be limited to prevent childhood obesity." The research team examined 872 kids from grades 1-3 in 10 schools in northeastern Switzerland. The children were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their gaming habits, time spent watching television, eating, and several other factors. Then the researchers recorded each child’s obesity level by “using both skinfold thickness and body mass index (BMI) to provide a more direct assessment of overweight and overfat status.” Dr. Stettler points out that prevention is the key, “Because obesity is difficult to treat once it has been established, obesity prevention during childhood is an essential component of the efforts to combat this global epidemic and further research on obesity prevention is necessary." It should be noted that the study also linked obesity to television viewing, paternal smoking and mother’s working outside the home.


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