CDC Survey: Many Gamers are Depressed and Obese

By  |  Monday, August 17, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Pizza BoxesA survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that gamers were more prone to depression and obesity than non-gamers. Gamers were also older than they are customarily assumed to be.

The survey was taken in the Seattle-Tacoma area, and the sample was 500 adults between the ages of 10 and 90. Forty-five percent of respondents identified themselves as gamers. It found that female gamers were more likely to be depressed than non-gamers, and male gamers had higher incidents of obesity.

That may not defy stereotype, but surprisingly, the survey also found that the average gamer was 35 years old. The BBC cited a 2002 study in its coverage that mirrored that finding.

The CDC chose the Seattle-Tacoma area, because it has the highest Internet usage in the United States. Interestingly, Seattle was ranked as the seventh most physically fit city in 2008 by Men’s Fitness magazine.

“Health risk factors, specifically a higher BMI and a larger number of poor mental-health days, differentiated adult video-game players from non-gamers,” CDC’s Dr. James B Weaver said in a prepared statement. “Video game players also reported lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status.”

I would like to see more studies taken as a follow up to this research to determine whether there is an actual correlation between gaming and negative health consequences. That said, more games that require physical involvement couldn’t come soon enough.


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Barnes Says:

    This is a Fark headline? Right?
    From the OBVIOUS department.

  2. tom b Says:

    d(french fry)/dt

  3. Seumas Says:

    Something like 50% or 60% of Americans are obese and something like thirty or forty million are on some form of anti-depression medication. Not to mention probably just as many people who don’t bother to get diagnosed for various reasons (no health coverage, embarrassed, etc).

    So to say a lot of video game players tend to be obese and/or depressed is an offensive manipulation of the facts. Especially since something like 90% of people under thirty-five play videogames.

    Statistically, most people are obese and/or depressed. While a few activities may only attract people who are not obese and perhaps less frequently depressed — like rock climbers or something — many other activities will be populated by the general population and therefore represent the same portions of the general population.

    You may as well just say most readers, television watchers, church-goers, art-lovers, music lovers, office workers, programmers, business persons, house wives, or anything else is populated similarly.

  4. Seumas Says:

    By the way, why is it surprising that the average gamer is 35 years old? That has been a known statistic for quite some time now and if you’re 35 years old, you were the prime age for the NES, Sega, Sega Genesis, SNES, PC gaming, and were around during the end of the arcade days.

  5. Wilson Says:

    Are the gamers fat because of the gaming or are did the overweight turn to video games because of social repercussions of being “abnormal”? I think that a lot can be said about how your environment affects your way of life and personality traits. Think about this… Have you ever noticed that an alarming amount of genius caliber people have some sort of aesthetic impairment? Are they geniuses because they didn’t waste their time on socializing and recreation but rather spent their time in solitude reading books and learning? What is to say that gamers became overweight or depressed because of games?

  6. David Worthington Says:

    @Seumas that is why I think there should be more studies and peer review.

  7. Technology Slice Says:

    This comes as no surprise. More and more people are sitting in front of their computers and avoiding any kind of social interaction. This causes depression and obesity through the lack of movement.

  8. Alrick Says:

    Nice write-up. In regards to your final comment… I’m actually trying to do my own independent study in a similar vein because I’ve heard the opposite of this – some gamers can become so immersed in their game they actually LOSE weight. Here’s a link if anyone wants to participate:

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