Video games may not make teens fat25th January 2011
Playing video games may not be as much of a factor in childhood obesity as doctors currently believe, according to a recent US study.
Many previous studies done on both adults and teenagers posit a correlation between screen time and waist size.
Children who played video games did, however, have lower school grades and lower self esteem.
The researchers in the present study found that the effect of age, socio-economic status, and ethnicity on obesity was too great to ignore.
They could not, on the other hand, find a definite correlation between video games and obesity.
For the study, the researchers selected 482 children, all of whom were age 12, and followed them for three years.
The researchers came up with six different questionnaires, each of which covered a different aspect of children's screen time.
The questionnaires asked when a child used the internet and for how long and how often a child played video games, as well as basic details such as height and weight.
The researchers also used the questionnaires to find out how well the children did in school.
The children took tests on reading, mathematics and visuospatial recognition.
The researchers could not find a clear link between body mass index (BMI) and video games.
Children who used the internet more often than their peers also had higher test scores in reading, and children who played more video games than their peers were better at visuospatial reasoning.
However, the current study is unusual in that it contradicts the conclusions of many different groups of researchers.
Just last week, researchers published a study claiming that time spent in front of screens increased people's risk of heart disease.
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