New research by the Centers for Disease Control has found that gamers are depressed, socially-stunted fatties who aren't actually playing games at all but are instead caught up in "imitation play-like activities."
The study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Andrews University examined 500 adults aged 19-90, looking at health risks, media use and demographic factors. Respondents classified themselves as either "players" or "non-players," and also provided "self-assessments of depression, personality, health status, physical and mental health, body mass index (BMI), and poor quality of life." An examination of their weekly media usage, including internet, television and, among the 45.1 percent who reported playing them, videogames, was then conducted.
Shockingly, the study found "measurable correlations between videogame playing and health risks." Female gamers reported greater depression and lower health status than female non-players, while males reported higher body mass index and internet usage than male non-gamers. Both men and women also reported a greater reliance on the internet for "social support" than non-gamers.
"Health-risk factors, specifically, a higher BMI and a greater number of poor mental-health days differentiated adult video-game players from non-players," said Dr. James B. Weaver III of the CDC in Atlanta. "Video-game players also reported lower extroversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns."
Dr. Brian Primrack of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine added his own opinion that videogames are sufficiently different from "original forms of play" that they're better defined as "play-like activities."
"The differences between today's 'play-like activities' and original forms of play may illuminate some of the observed health-related correlates discovered," he said. "How do we simultaneously help the public steer away from imitation play-like activities, harness the potentially positive aspects of video games, and keep in perspective the overall place of video games in our society?"
"There are massive, powerful industries promoting many play-like activities. And industry giants that can afford to will successfully tout the potential benefits of health-related products they develop," he continued. "But who will be left to remind us that for children and adults alike, hide-and-seek and freeze tag are still probably what we need most?"