What is the Connection Between Video Games and Obesity?

Video games and obesity may be connected because people who are obese tend to spend more time playing video games than people who are not obese. Studies have shown that these findings particularly seem to apply to children. Even though video games and obesity are somewhat related, experts do not generally believe that playing video games causes obesity directly. People who watch television regularly but do not play video games are usually not as overweight as people who spend most of their time playing video games. Some experts believe that people who are obese might play video games more often because they are not as socially active as people who aren’t obese and that playing video games does not directly cause obesity.
Many parents who have children who are obese often become concerned because their children might play video games regularly, and parents tend to believe that the video game activity is either causing or worsening their children’s obesity levels. For a long time, most people believed that both television watching and video game playing contributed to obesity because both are sedentary activities. People who are obese would likely benefit from spending some time away from the television if they are in front of it too often, but the game playing isn’t necessarily the primary cause of obesity. Studies have suggested that video games and obesity are related because video game playing is an activity that many obese people enjoy participating in.
A study done by the University of Texas at Austin followed the video game playing and television watching habits of 3,000 children up to the age of 12 as well as their overall activity levels. According to the study, the thinner children watched as much television as the obese children but in most cases did not play video games as often, although there were some thinner children in the study who played video games excessively. The study found that the vast majority of obese children spent a great deal of time playing video games as well as watching television. Obese children in the study were not completely inactive and did spend some time participating in other activities, such as sports or other exercise, in attempts to lose weight.
The final conclusion of the video games and obesity study was that no connection between weight and activity levels existed among study participants because the obese children did do things apart from watching television and playing video games to lose weight. According to the study, it is likely that video game participation is more often a side effect of being obese rather than a cause. More research may be necessary, but it might be possible that video games and obesity are connected because video games are a hobby that obese people seem to enjoy more than thinner people do.

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