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The Role of Video Gaming in Obesity Trends

The Role of Video Gaming in Obesity Trends

The trends of growing obesity are a concern both globally and within the US, as annual statistics reveal the steady decline in the levels of health and physical fitness across a network of societies. This issue is even more worrying when analyzed across a diverse age demographic, as figures suggest that more and more children and young adults are developing obesity as a serious health condition. This epidemic is expected to become more widespread before it improves, as children in particular continue to consume a poor nutritional diet alongside a reduced level of physical exercise.

Dietary elements and subsequent exercise are considered to be the most influential factors in determining a persons general health. These form part of a routine and cycle of behaviour, and the approach that an individual takes towards them is significant in establishing their physical fitness. However, diet and exercise are subject to environment and a persons individual attitudes, meaning that they themselves are vulnerable to numerous contributory triggers. To deal with obesity effectively, appropriate bodies must strive to discover the root cause of unhealthy behavioural trends and find suitable resolutions.

Contemporary Social Causes

Although diet is often considered to be the most significant influence in a persons general health, this is not supported by popular research and statistics. As an example, the metabolism and structure of the human body dictates that a person could consume 5000 calories in a single day (which is twice the recommended amount for a male), so long as they perform the requisite cardiovascular exercise to convert them to energy and burn them off.  This is true with sportsmen who participate in particular disciplines, where a high level of energy is expended on a regular basis.

Relevant statistics from the last 3 years therefore support this notion that the level of physical activity is more important than diet in creating an overweight or obese BMI (body mass index). Currently, it is estimated that over one third of US citizens aged between 18 and 44 perform no form of physical exercise or exertion in their leisure time, which correlates with approximately the same percentage of people in the same demographic who sustain an obese BMI. This may be a coincidence, but it is more likely to reflect the fact that reduced physical activity is the core trigger for obesity and excess weight gain.

Once this is understood, it is easy to identify the core reasons that lead to an idle or physically dormant lifestyle. There are several factors that could be put forward, and most share a common theme of youngsters being exposed to a surfeit of visual and online media resources. These trends of excess television viewing and Internet usage develop behavioural trends over time, leading to a steady decline in a persons level of exertion and overall fitness. Perhaps the most significant social factor apparent is the rise in video gaming and video game production, which allows youngsters to participate in various sporting or alternative scenarios in a completely virtual environment.

Understanding the Damaging Effects of Video Gaming

The levels of video game sales have risen steadily since the late 1990’s, due to the increased realism of game graphics and also the number of gaming consoles that are available on the consumer market. They appeal to a diverse range of ages and personality types, and allow the user to recreate almost any every day or fantastical situation in the comfort of their own home. The increase in gaming scenarios, the realism of their graphics and the sheer volume of games that can be sought are clearly having a detrimental effect on the amount of exercise and face to face interaction that youngsters are able to sustain.

Socially, there are appealing for many reasons. For youngsters with lessened social skills and  who  are vulnerable to low self esteem, online video games create a virtual existence and safe haven where the user can play an entirely fictional role or part. This allows the participant to immerse themselves in the position of a renowned sports star or particular characterization and achieve virtual glory and attainment, and this is a particularly dangerous concept as  it can create an obsession and an unhealthy level of virtual interaction between the user and the specific video game. Of course, the more time that a player spends on a game console then the less exposure they get to physical exercise and exertion.

As video games become a refuge for vulnerable youngsters or continue to hold malleable minds captive through enhanced graphics and virtual scenarios, then so too users become less active and increasingly idle. Despite this, the calorific consumption and nutritional intake remains unchanged, resulting in steady weight gain and a growing apathy to redress the balance. In youngsters, this can easily become an established pattern of behaviour, and by the time these individuals leave adolescence they may already be overweight and oblivious to their own physical plight.  This process acts as a cycle, and needs to be broken early enough to modify trends in conduct.

Redressing the Balance of Physical Fitness

Maintaining fitness is entirely down to cultivating a balance between diet and exercise. In an instance where youngsters are exposed to games consoles and regular online interaction, then it becomes a parents or guardians duty to regulate this and ensure that their children are well protected. Video games and the use of consoles need not be prohibited or forbidden as they can be the source of huge enjoyment and interaction with friends, but they need to act as part of a balanced lifestyle in order to maintain a suitable equilibrium. There can be little doubt that an over exposure to video games and their formats are one of the key contributors to obesity, and there is a need for their use to be monitored within each individual household.

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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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