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I’m An Average Gamer…Well, 2 Out Of 3 Ain’t Bad!

OK, so someone anonymously posted a story over at MSNBC about gamers in the comments of my Blocked post. I have two things to say to you.




First, let me say you’re a coward for not posting your name. Second, you really should get credit for showing me this because aside from not taking offense, which I’m guessing you were concerned about, it’s a pretty interesting article and I laughed when I read the first sentence:

A new study says the average age of video-game players in the United States is 35, and oh, by the way: They’re overweight and tend to be depressed.

Ky’s Checklist

35? Check.

Overweight? 5’9″. 230lbs. According to BMI? Yup. Check.

Depressed? Nope.

Ah well. Two out of three ain’t bad. LOL!

OK, first off let me point out that I’m among many that think the BMI is a load of crap. If I was 5’9″ and 230lbs looking like Stallone did back in the day there’s not a person in the world that would say I’m obese. But according to the calculator I hit a BMI of 34 and obese I am.  To be fair though the site does say, “[BMI] may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.” I come from a long line of short husky men. I’ll admit I’m overweight, but far from obese. 🙂

Now that I’ve got my rationalization out of the way, let me point the one problem I have about the article.

The article tends to imply that video games lead to obesity and depression. This is articulated with the statement, “The findings appear consistent with earlier research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status and mental health concerns.” The problem with this statement is it doesn’t mean that video game playing is the cause, but that’s what millions reading this article will think. What the findings really mean is that people with a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status and mental health concerns are playing video games.

Who here really thinks that kids playing violent video games has led to tragedies such as Columbine? Who here believes these were really disturbed kids that were attracted to violent video games and unfortunately committed these atrocities?

I’m not an expert and besides each case is going to be different, but I have to believe that video games aren’t making people fat. Our sedentary lifestyles are. If I wasn’t playing video games, I’d be watching TV. If I wasn’t watching TV, I’d be reading a book. Either way I’d still be getting fat.

As for those with mental health issues like depression? Having survived two severe bouts of depression in my past that nearly ended it both times, I think I can safely say I know what video games offered me during those times. They were escapes. Ways to avoid the problems in my life and remove myself from the pain I was going through. But escapes are not ways of dealing with the problems. Video games are attractive to those with issues, but they aren’t the cause. Unfortunately they can make the cause worse when one avoids dealing with the problem.

So what do I need to do? First, I need to get off my butt and exercise. I need to eat a little better too. Second, I need to make sure that if I ever have a problem with depression again to realize that video games are not a solution. And third, since I can’t get any younger I apparently need to get older fast so I’m no longer right smack dab on the average age! 🙂


8 Responses

  1. That is too funny man.

    I am speechless lol…great read.

  2. I read the article too, and the first thing that jumped out of me is exactly what you pointed out – the assumption that playing games leads to being overweight and depressed.

    Despite whatever they might say, they have no evidence of causality. If it weren’t for this silly little game, I might simply stay holed up in my house all the time, with absolutely no social contact whatsoever due to depression and things like that. Instead, the game allows me some sort of escape and social outlet so that while I struggle with other things, I’m not completely cutting myself off from human communication.

    I think this fits for a lot of people. All in all, it wasn’t a horrible article, I’ve read much worse. Maybe the commenter who left you the article just thought you would be interested in it. I found it to be!

  3. I run an alt 10 man raid in which I am the youngest member at 44 years old. Four of the players are retired (78, 76, 71, 66) and all the others are between 45 and 57. Never any drama in over 2 years of playing together.

    The Canadian Armed Forces had a maximum BMI back in the mid 80s. I failed the first physical because of a high BMI despite being in-shape enough to be an alternate on the Canadian wrestling team. The Armed Forces gave me a second second physical, which should have lasted 15 minutes, and I had to work out 4 hours shirtless in front of an increasing number of young and not so young giggling medical assistants..

    Depressed? Sometimes.

  4. I’m older then you, holy crap i feel old now. I’m 37. I should change my toon name to Oldmanscourge.

  5. 25, 5’9, 120 lbs, and physically active. Oh, and hawt, too. Bite me, article!


    I bet some of the people who say that playing games all the time makes you sedentary and fat sit in front of the TV all night. 😛

  6. LOL, you get them Ky!

    I am only 1 out of three (overweight, yes the typical american…), but Imworking on that one. Here’s to the 5 pounds I lost last month!

    Ohh, and BTW, yes, BMI is a load of crap. When I get to where I want to be, 5’8 and about 185, I will still be borderline Obese by its definition. But, hey. Im rocking out some major muscle!

  7. Repeat after me… Correlation does not imply causation.

    BMI is by far the easiest measure of obeisity…. but it’s also one of the least accurate because as you point out, there are plenty of other factors that contribute to obeisity besides height and weight.

    Still, looking at an entire population, over 90% of people with a BMI greater than 30 ARE obese, and very unhealthy.

    Studies like the one you mention (I didn’t check it out) similarly point out that many – not most – overweight persons are prone to depression make generalizations. MOST people who are overweight are prone to depression. No, it says nothing about causation, but saying, “I’m overweight, but not depressed,” or “I’m depressed, but video games make me happy” are even more error prone.

    You might indeed be an outlier considering BMI or the possible depression-weight correlation, but that doesn’t make them false.

    In general, most people would benefit from monitoring their weight in a country where about 60% of people ARE overweight. And many people that engage in many hours of video games daily would benefit from balancing that with a healthy diet and exercise to counteract the potentially related health problems.

    I luvs ya Ky! Have a great day. 🙂

  8. This study borders on an abuse of the scientific ethos. Their case study is done in an area with an above average depression rate to begin with, in an area with the highest Internet usage in the US. The people being surveyed will of couse skew to this depressed/over weight group. It rains almost 50% of the year in Seattle, when are they getting outside to excercise?

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