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Report: Videogames make you eat more

Tuesday, 19th April 2011 16:01 GMT By Stace Harman

Canada’s National Post newspaper has reported the findings of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The Post carried the headline “Videogames make you eat more”, further on in the article it added that watching TV and working at a computer have the same effect.

The article, published on the National Post’s website, stated that:

“A Canadian-led study has offered up a new clue to the country’s obesity epidemic, suggesting that video-game use is not just a rampant and sedentary replacement for physical exertion, but actually compels players to eat more — even when they are not hungry.”

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, lead author of the study, reported that the teenage subjects spent an hour sitting in a comfortable chair and then, on another occasion, an hour playing a videogame. After the hour spent gaming, participants consumed an average of 80 calories more at a pasta lunch.

“Surveys filled out by the 22 young men who participated in the study showed the gamers consumed an average of 163 more calories through the day,” the Post’s article continued. “Blood tests for appetite-related hormone levels showed no evidence that game playing had actually made them hungrier, however.”

Dr. Chaput hypothesised that the impact in a ‘real-life’ setting was actually much greater than the 80 calories established by his study “since in a real-life setting gamers often play with others and eat while they play — both factors that would encourage food intake,” the Post postulated.

Later in the article, other “sedentary activities”, such as watching TV and working at a computer were also mentioned, and the initial point expanded upon by Dr. Sharma, chair of obesity research at the University of Alberta:

“There is this widespread misconception that obesity results largely from people being physically inactive, not burning calories,” said Dr. Sharma. “Canadians are not getting fat because they’re lazy. They’re getting fat because they don’t have time and because they’re stressed out, they’re working too much … they never shut off.”

Dr Chatput has stated that he would like to look next at “a new generation of games, such as the Nintendo Wii, that actually require physical exertion that mimics the characters on screen, to see whether they trigger the same over-eating effect.” He warned that if they do, any health-boosting benefit of those games could be offset by the resulting compulsion to eat.

Thanks, Kotaku

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14 Comments

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  1. Gromple

    Only 22 participants hardly sounds convincing. Also, aside from gaming being the cause of an increased food intake, another reason could be the availability of the food. When you’re gaming, you’re often at home, close to a refrigerator/other food, that you’ve already spent money on.

    This study would only be valid if they rule out things like these. Don’t get me wrong, not saying there couldn’t be a connection. But we all know alot of these studies could do with better research.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. frosteternal

    Interesting… Well I’m 20, I love gaming, it’s mostly what I do and I haven’t done sports in like 2 years… I weigh 51KG… So In your face canadian study!

    No disrespect to the canadian people whatsoever :)*loves canada*

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Stephany Nunneley

    Funny how they’ve yet to do a study on how much more you drink or smoke when playing games. :D

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    163 calories is *nothing*.

    Making the entire point of the study redundant.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. DrDamn

    @4
    Yep – in context that is less than a packet of malteasers. Who advertise proudly on the front of the packet that it’s only 182 calories.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. DrDamn

    From personal experience some motion controlled games can make you eat more too. MP games which make each player go in turn makes us circle the snack table – it’s fatal. You just keep grazing.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Nozz

    From personal experience this is only true if the food is within reach. I’m too busy gaming to get up to make food and eat damnit!

    :)

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Hunam

    I actually eat less when I’ve got a nice game on the go. If I’m just pottering around with games I’ve already finished then I might grab snacks, but when I’m going through a new game or playing some good MP I’m usually too engrossed to think about getting snacks, but never too into it to skip meals. So, in my case, it keeps me eating on time.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. loki

    It is all about PC games,

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Syrok

    I’m more likely to forget to eat when I’m properly into a game.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Rosseu

    Actually it’s not the case here in my country. VG keeps people from eating :)

    #11 3 years ago
  12. chriswhaaat

    @10 i was just about say the same thing

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Crab of Thunder

    That picture… it’s just wrong.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    That’s a shit-tumor if I ever saw one.

    #14 3 years ago