Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

January 25, 2010 -

Frankly we had purposely avoided “gaming causes rickets” stories up until now because any link to videogames in the research was tenuous at best, but when pro-gaming MP Tom Watson calls foul over the link and assists in ridiculing the tabloid-type headlines screaming about the latest threat to humanity at the hand of games, it’s worth a look.

Events began with a press release issued to call attention to a new study from a pair of doctors which reported on a growing Vitamin D deficiency among the UK population.  A lack of Vitamin D can lead to rickets, a condition that can cause growth problems and bowed-legs in children.

In the press release it was noted that “A traditional UK diet often lacks Vitamin D and this could be a big reason for the increasing problem, as well as changes in lifestyle, such as children staying indoors playing computer games.”

A free paper in the UK (the Metro) picked up the story, splashing a “Video Gaming Leads to Surge in Rickets” headline across its pages, leading GamesBrief columnist Nicholas Lovell to pick apart the Metro story bit-by-bit.

Lovell wrote:

This survey makes no causal link between games and rickets, or even Vitamin D deficiency. It has identified a significant public health issue of rising numbers of cases of rickets, an entirely preventable disease that was almost eradicated fifty years ago. The potential causes are many, ranging from a changing population ethnicity, the lack of playing fields for schoolchildren, a culture of fear that prevents children playing outside unsupervised or even feckless parents who no longer feed their offspring a teaspoonful of foul-tasting cod liver oil every day.

Both Lovell and Watson emailed the study’s authors, Professor Simon Pearce and Dr. Timothy Cheetham.  Amusingly, Pearce emailed Lovell, “The average age of a child with rickets is around 20 months old: too young to use a keyboard and mouse!”

Pearce also replied to MP Watson, writing, “No we really didn’t do a study to show that, or say that Gaming causes rickets. It was a classic piece of dodgy lazy journalism, taking 3 words out of PA’s hyped-up version of our press release.”

As Watson summed up:

So, once again video games get a kicking in the press based on an untruth. And the poor health academics who are trying to get their important research across to policy makers have their work undermined by nonsensical headlines.

Watson, for his part, was determined to help the researchers get their message across, promising to request that the government take a look at the case for adding vitamin D supplements to food and for better ways to encourage parents to make sure their children get more exercise.

Watson also indicated that he would ask Department Health Ministers what type of work, if any, they are doing currently to address this issue.

Thanks to everyone who sent this one in.


Comments

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

My dad has bowed legs but b/c he has osteoperosis NOT from gaming either. B/c he was a farmboy that worked on a farm most of his life & didn't take care of himself & ate & drank junk food all the time. It is NOT due to video games. OMG!

 

 

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Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

This is why I think tabloids are so full of shit, they'll release any headline they can no matter how ridiculous or implausible it is to get publicity. What do you guys think they'll blame videogames for next?

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

"...even feckless parents who no longer feed their offspring a teaspoonful of foul-tasting cod liver oil every day."

If you ever, EVER, mention having to take cod liver oil again...  >:(

It's almost, not quite but almost, as bad as having to grease down my hair as a really young kid.  >:(

Nightwng2000

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Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

It's the UK, the land of perpetual cloud cover. Your kids would still get rickets even if you tied them to the top of the tallest building for the rest of their lives.


Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

Something tells me we won't be seeing a "We Were Proven Incorrect About Our Rickets Statement" headline on the Metro any time soon.

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

Depending on your latitude, the amount of sunlight IN FULL CLOTHING, needed to produce a proper amount of viatamin D can be as little as a few hours PER WEEK.

The people at most risk for rickets are those who's mothers exclusively breastfeed, and when the MOTHERS dont get enough sunlight.

damnit armchair doctors make me so mad.

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

I can't believe someone tried this. It won't be long until a link between gaming and going homosexual is tried.

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

Although in terms of honest and accurate reporting, The Metro does rate below even The Daily Mail.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

Coming up next: videogames causes STDs without the sex part?

God, they don´t know what more to blame. This is why the world is becoming more stupid, and it´s not videogames fault.

Also: “The average age of a child with rickets is around 20 months old: too young to use a keyboard and mouse!”

lol

My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Rickets Link to Gaming Debunked

Elementary, my dear Watson.

 
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Matthew WilsonI think its a good article, and devs can take some lessons from life is strange.04/24/2015 - 10:24pm
Andrew EisenI tinyURL'd it. The world is safe!04/24/2015 - 10:23pm
Matthew Wilson@AE my bad there is nothing I can do about that.04/24/2015 - 10:21pm
Andrew EisenLooks like the spoiler is right there in the URL.04/24/2015 - 10:20pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://tinyurl.com/ok9pf6b a interesting opinion piece on the life is strange episode 2, and a dark event that happens in it. full warning major spoilers.04/24/2015 - 10:11pm
Matthew Wilson@mech no just she, nor her co workers have not. she never said it is not real.04/24/2015 - 8:58pm
MechaCrashWas she saying "I haven't experienced it," or "I haven't experienced it therefore it does not exist"?04/24/2015 - 8:31pm
ZippyDSMleeoy the skyrim paid mod thing is going over well. My 2 lints, I would not mind if Skyrim had a full SDK and not a crappy lil editor....04/24/2015 - 6:46pm
Andrew EisenWell, that is indeed crappy and nonsensical.04/24/2015 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonshe got attacked for saying that she personaly has not experienced the harassment some other female devs have, and she got acused of defending GG and ignoring harassment. she ended up getting dog piled because of it.04/24/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew EisenFine but do you recall ANY details at all?04/24/2015 - 3:38pm
Matthew Wilsonit was several weeks ago now, and I will admit to not saving it.04/24/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew EisenAttacked HOW and by WHOM for not writing off WHO as evil? Do you have a link or anything?04/24/2015 - 3:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthat is the whole point she was not attacked for saying anything. she was attacked for being willing to debate in the first place, and not just write them off as evil.04/24/2015 - 3:28pm
Andrew EisenI know there's not a lot of room in the Shout box but goodness you're being vague.04/24/2015 - 3:26pm
Andrew EisenGreat, but that STILL doesn't tell me what she said, why she was attacked (or what the attack was) or what "standard line" she's following. Details, man. Details!04/24/2015 - 3:25pm
Andrew EisenOr what the heck Nina White (someone else I've never heard of) is actually referring to.04/24/2015 - 3:24pm
Matthew Wilson@AE she is a game dev. she used to do stuff with hormanix and now works with https://outact.net/#!/?page_id=2 she will often engage and debate both side.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew Eisen...following.04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
Andrew EisenYou mean focus on stopping the bad behavior of those who are doing it rather than condemning all the people that associate with them? Great. But I still don't know who Emma Clarkson is, what she said, why she was attacked or what "standard line" she's04/24/2015 - 3:23pm
 

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