This just in from the Department of Things that are Unsurprising: A new survey shows that the average U.S. gamer is overweight, 35 years old and depressed.
This study was conducted by the CDC in the Seattle-Tacoma area. CDC’s Dr. James B. Weaver said,
“Health risk factors, specifically a higher BMI and a larger number of poor mental-health days, differentiated adult video-game players from non-gamers,” he said. “Video game players also reported lower extraversion [sic], consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status.”
Does anyone else find this to be really disturbing?
Last weekend I was in Indianapolis for a wedding, which fell on the same weekend as Gen Con Indy– a gaming convention. Walking around, our high heels and party dresses were a stark contrast to the sea of gamer costumes: elves, pirates, warrior princesses. Not to go all Carrie from Sex and the City on you, but I couldn’t help but wonder–besides the costumes, what is it about gamers that really sets them apart from the rest of us?
While we non-gamers are surely not to blame for the natural chemical imbalances that lead to depression, what is our role in ostracizing gamers from mainstream society?
Perhaps we lack the imaginative spark they manage to hold on to, and we mock them for it. That being said, there must be another outlet for imagination and creativity besides a video game.
We all understand what it’s like to feel comfortable in a community of like-minded people. (My comfort zone is other political wonks and campaigners who, to some, may seem like weirdos. Unlike gamers, however, we tend to be painfully extroverted. It takes a certain kind of person to actually like knocking on doors and talking to strangers.) And if the study had said the average gamers were mostly happy and healthy, I would say “live and let live” and then make a crack about how they probably still live in their parents’ basement.
But that isn’t the case. We now have data pinpointing a distinct community of people who are depressed and unhealthy. Now we just need to figure out what to do and how to reach them.
[Posted by Kathleen]