Why Pokemon Go Can Help Protect UK Kids From Childhood Obesity
Recent weeks have seen the launch of the hugely successful gaming app Pokemon Go from Nintendo, in which players walk around real-world locations searching for fantasy creatures. It has attracted criticism from some who say it's tendency to distract people creates a safety hazard, but it actually has the potential to greatly benefit the health of young people in the UK...
Recent weeks have seen the launch of the hugely successful gaming app Pokemon Go from Nintendo, in which players walk around real-world locations searching for fantasy creatures. It has attracted criticism from some who say it’s tendency to distract people creates a safety hazard, but it actually has the potential to greatly benefit the health of young people in the UK…
Games played on smartphones and other electronic devices have always been seen as a contributory factor to the disturbingly high number of overweight children in the UK, as many children have come to prefer playing video games over sports and other physical activities.
The newly released Pokemon Go game, however, uses a technology called augmented reality to overlay characters and objects from the game into a player’s surrounding environment, forcing the player to move around the real world in order to play the game and explore the fantasy world it creates.
Since the game’s release, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including young children and adolescents, have been spending many hours a week walking or dashing around parks, forests, beaches, cities and other locations searching for the fantasy creatures that exist in the game world.
Four nights ago in the USA, a large mass of people stormed into New York’s Central Park in a hurry to capture one of the game’s rarest species of monster creature that had been sighted somewhere within.
Walking and light running are extremely useful exercises that burn calories, reduce belly fat and improve cardiovascular fitness.
There is currently a fitness campaign called The Daily Mile sweeping UK schools and nurseries with the aim of getting children walking or running at least one mile each day. This, in addition to school PE lessons, is thought to be enough to prevent all but the most excessively overfed children from becoming overweight.
Data gathered from the most recent large-scale study has shown that twenty-five percent of boys and thirty-three percent of girls aged two to nineteen years are overweight or obese, and the situation is getting worse.
If regular walking and light running can prevent a lot of children from becoming overweight or obese, then a smartphone game that motivates young children and adolescents to scurry around outdoors chasing cartoon monsters could be useful for maintaining healthy weight levels in the young population of Britain.
It could be especially useful in preventing the reduction in fitness that typically occurs in Britain’s children during the summer holiday months of July and August when most children spent a lot of time sitting around in front of computer devices, televisions and games consoles.
It has recently been reported that new research carried into schoolchildren in Bolton has found that during the Summer holidays, when deprived of their school PE lessons, children lose about eighty percent of their fitness and their body mass indexes rise by about two-hundred-and-fifty percent.
A child who spends many hours of their summer holiday walking or running around chasing the cartoon creatures of Pokemon Go would burn a lot of calories and go a long way towards replacing the exercise they would normally get in PE.
Pokemon Go and other augmented reality games or software should not be seen as a convenient solution to the issues of fitness, exercise and weight management facing the children of modern Britain, but if gaming technology is heading in a direction that will see youngsters moving around the real world, this will certainly make a positive contribution to health and fitness.
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