With 75 million downloads in less than a month, it is safe to say that virtual character-hunting game Pokémon Go has made legions of fans across the world. One of them is a researcher who thinks that the app is an excellent way of tackling obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Dr Tom Yates, from the University of Leicester, UK, specialising in international diabetes research, sees the application as a potential means of tackling sedentary lifestyles and obesity, which can lead to type-2 diabetes.
A previous study from the University of Leicester, published in the journal Diabetes Care, concluded that integrating five-minute breaks every half hour into inactive lifestyles during prolonged periods of sitting significantly reduced blood sugar and insulin levels. The breaks were used to introduce five minutes of walking or other forms of movement. Now, Pokémon Go has come as an interesting solution, since players can cover several kilometers without even realising.
According to Dr Tom Yates, “If there is something out there which is getting people off the sofa and pounding the streets then this game could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels. Walking is hugely underrated yet it is man’s best and the cheapest form of exercise. It’s an easy and accessible way to get active and help maintain a healthy body.”
Experts suggest this fun and non-violent game can be a good form of exercise and can be played by the whole family. However, users should take care not to let their Pokémon hunt lead to dangerous behaviour — avoiding playing while driving or crossing roads, for example, and steering clear of venturing into dark, isolated areas.
Risk factors for diabetes include genetic predisposition and family history, but above all obesity, lack of physical exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
Type-2 diabetes accounts for 90% of diabetes cases worldwide.
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