The results of a study to determine the relationship between computer usage for gaming and emailing and weight gain showed that normal weight young women, ages 20-24,  who gamed for at least one hour a day  were more likely to be overweight at the end of the five year study than were those women who did not game. These results were not found in men. The study was published recently in the journal BMC Public Health. 

A summary of this study is at:

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154884.html

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The complete journal article is at:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/15/839

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The results of this study suggest that it is particularly important for young women to be aware of the amount of time they spend playing computer games and to limit it as much as possible.

Reducing the amount of time spent playing video games is a good idea for everyone. So, keep track of the amount of time you spend gaming each day for a week. If it’s more than an hour a day, you might want to work on reducing it by using some of the following tips:

  • Get a timer and set it for 30 – 60 minutes whenever you start a game or use the software that alerts you to the amount of time you’ve been playing. At the end of your allotted time, get up and move, stretch, walk, do something physical.
  • Don’t bring the computer (or whichever device you use for gaming) into your bedroom.
  • Play games that are easy to pause or that have a ‘save game’ feature.
  • Designate a “no game” day or two.

For more information

Entertainment Software Association 2014 - Essential facts about the computer and video game industry
http://www.theesa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ESA_EF_2014.pdf

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Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES is the principal health education specialist at Associates for Health, LLC, in Sparta, a practice focused on improving health through education. Associates for Health, LLC offers individual and group health education seminars, individual health behavior change guidance and health consulting for health care professionals. For more information please see www.associatesforhealth.com.  To contact Dr. Hayden, email her at joannahayden@associatesforhealth.com