Worried about your teenage son’s growing obesity problem? Well, for starters, get him to give up his videogames viewing and playing habits. A new study conducted by researchers in Hamilton, Canada noted that in many children and youth, tendencies of high videogame addiction ups the risk of sleep deprivation and disorders associated with obesity and poor cardio-metabolic health.
The study examines the growing global gaming phenomenon and its impact on youth health. Dr Katherine Morrison of the McMaster University, Canada co-author of the study said that her team’s findings are serious, given the rise in videogame addictions.
“This is an important phenomenon to understand. We are seeing that some children and teens develop serious addiction-like symptoms to video games,” said Morrison.
“It affects a vulnerable population of children and youth, can impact social interactions amongst youth and, as our research shows, can drive health issues,” she added.
For their research, the team studied a group of children and teens ages 10 to 17 who were in lifestyle management programmes, either for weight management or lipid disorders. The study looked at whether the videogame habits of the group had an impact on sleep habits, obesity and cardio-metabolic health.
Using fitness trackers, the team monitored the sleep duration and compared that to the youth’s videogame usage.
The data showed that videogame addiction symptoms resulted in shorter sleep which, in turn, was related to elevated blood pressure, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high insulin resistance.
It is important to note that this was a specific group of children and teens, added Morrison, and it is unknown if this information applies to the general population.
Morrison said the research team is in the early days of evaluating videogame addiction in children and teens. They plan on studying the effects in general populations while also analyzing video game usage and addiction tendencies of gamers over time.
This study has been published in PLOS ONE.