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Adults Who Play Video Games May Experience Health Effects

Last Updated: September 04, 2009.

Playing video games is associated with a higher body mass index among men and more depression and poorer self-health perceptions among women in comparison with non-playing peers, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

FRIDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Playing video games is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) among men and more depression and poorer self-health perceptions among women in comparison with non-playing peers, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

James B. Weaver III, Ph.D., of the National Center for Health Marketing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues set out to identify the personal characteristics and other factors that distinguish adults who play video games from those who do not. The researchers surveyed a sample of 562 Seattle-Tacoma adults in 2006 for data on demographics, perceived health risks, and media and video-game use. Statistical analyses were used to compare adult video-game players and non-players.

The researchers found that male video-game players had higher BMI and spent more time on the Internet than male non-players, while female video-game players reported more depression and poorer health than non-playing females. Both male and female video-game players reported greater reliance on the Internet for social support than their non-playing peers.

"A number of determinants distinguished video-game players from non-players, and these factors differed substantially between men and women. The data illustrate the need for further research among adults to clarify how to use digital opportunities more effectively to promote health and prevent disease," the authors write.

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