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Weight Gain, Cardiovascular Risks Linked To Video Game Addiction

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Adolescents obsessed with playing video games may be at a higher risk of weight gain, sleep deprivation and poor cardio-metabolic health, according to a new study conducted by McMaster University researchers.

Researchers are concerned that the link between video game addiction and troubling health issues could impact youth around the world who are entrenched in the gaming phenomenon.

"This is an important phenomenon to understand,” said Dr. Katherine Morrison, co-author of the study. “We are seeing that some children and teens develop serious addiction-like symptoms to video games. It affects a vulnerable population of children and youth, can impact social interactions amongst youth and, as our research shows, can drive health issues."

Impact of gaming addiction

During the study, video game aficionados ages 10 to 17 were monitored via fitness trackers. The research team examined the amount of time spent sleeping in relation to video game usage. The results showed a link between gaming addiction and less sleep, which resulted in increased blood pressure, high triglycerides and high insulin resistance.

Although researchers admit that the study looked at just one specific age group - therefore making it difficult to apply the results to the general population - they were still surprised to discover the link between video game addiction and lack of sleep.

"Sleep is emerging as a critical behavior for cardio-metabolic health, and this data shows that gaming addictions can cause numerous health issues in at least a segment of the population," said Morrison. "Childhood obesity tracks into adulthood and obese children face a greater risk of cardiovascular and coronary diseases as well as type-2 diabetes as adults.”

Researchers stressed the importance of identifying potentially negative lifestyle habits like video game addiction as early as possible to curtail future health consequences.

Source: McMaster University