Objections Raised to “Gamers Are Fat & Depressed” Study

Reports this week that the Center for Disease Control found higher than normal rates of obesity and depression in adult gamers have drawn criticism from some game and tech-oriented observers.

Cnet’s Don Reisinger writes:

Due to its small sample size, methods of data collection, and location focus, the study’s findings have to be taken with at least one grain of salt.

Moreover, the study found that the majority of those surveyed are overweight, regardless of their gaming patterns.

John Timmer of Ars Technica also sees caveats in the CDC research:

One of the most obvious problems… is that the study is based on survey data gathered online back in 2006… it’s important to note (given the conclusions about weight) that the Wii didn’t hit the market until the end of that year.

The scope is limited, as well… This limited sample is not a definitive representation of gamers in general, and mainstream reports have ignored the study’s own admission to this…

Indeed, western Washington has a climate that’s rather unique within the US, one that may influence decisions on indoor vs. outdoor activities… The survey data was also completely dependent on self-assessment… The correlations are curious and more study is needed.

Jordan Lund of GameStooge adds:

When you look at the actual data, the differences aren’t as extreme as you might think. For example, male gamers have an average BMI of 28.05 while non gamers score a 26.55… To put it in relative terms, you’re looking at the difference between Homer Simpson and Krusty the Clown…

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  1. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Absolutely right.  Cars are probably the leading cause of obesity in the world.  The one thing that helps keep me fit the most is my insistence on taking some time away from the car and walking or cycling for one or two of the week’s journeys.  If everyone simply ignored the fact that they had a car for one short journey a week, then everyone would be a heck of a lot slimmer and a lot healthier.

  2. 0
    nefermore says:

    The couch potatoe is not a new thing.  It doesnt matter if he/she sitting in front of a computer , starting transfixed in front of a TV or reading a newspaper half the day.  The results are the same.  It isnt computers its more like cars that have actually led to obesity.  Depression is a another whole can of worms.

  3. 0
    FlakAttack says:

    Hell, the CDC should be prasing video games as seeing the probably have prevented suicides. I’m not saying they have, I’m saying that probably did.

    I won’t go into the details, but gaming helped me through quite a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people who would not be with us today had it not been for gaming (especially online gaming).

  4. 0
    iDroid says:

    Huh, I didn’t know that gaming addiction was a "disease." Otherwise I would think that they are pulling it out of their ass, oh wait, they are.

    It’s so flippin’ obvious when a study is biased out of the ass in which it came from.


    On a more serious note. Did the CDC suddenly forget that 60-something percent of the US is overweight? Or the fact that nowadays, life is more stressful and that can lead to some sort of depression? Besides, video games let you forget about these things, it helps bring piece of mind.

    Hell, the CDC should be prasing video games as seeing the probably have prevented suicides. I’m not saying they have, I’m saying that probably did.

  5. 0
    strathmeyer says:

    Never, ever trust a story that uses BMI. Researches have known why this is a bad idea for years, and whenever I still see someone using it I can’t help thing anything but "research results for cash". Why do people that completely make up research results get treated by repectable people at GamePolitics? What’s their angle?

  6. 0
    JB says:

    Aren’t most people in North America "fat and depressed" these days?  With all the unhealthy diets and not to mention the economy! Why not fix that?

  7. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    This seems like another ‘study’ designed with an end in mind.  Surely, there are skinny gamers and nerds. Also, I enjoyed the simpson reference.  Plus, at the end of the day, gaming is something that the vast majority of Americans in the last few generations take part in.  Surely, they’re not all unfit.  I’m not; I run a few miles every morning. 
    I’d like to see this compared to the fitness of, say, lawyers, doctors, and other work-intensive groups.

  8. 0
    Kajex says:

    I don’t trust Body-Mass-Index derived numbers. When a graph can take a well-toned Will Smith and call him "overweight", you know something is bullshit about it.

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