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Video Gamers Older Than You Think
Date:8/18/2009

Also more out-of-shape and maybe depressed, new U.S. survey of Internet players finds

TUESDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The average video gamer is not the stereotypical adolescent locked to a computer screen 24/7. The real players, according to a new U.S. survey, are 35-year-old adults, many of whom are overweight, socially introverted and possibly depressed.

The surprising findings also show that the health consequences of video gaming differ by gender, according to the research, which is published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The Internet-based survey, one of the first to look at this age group, used 562 adults between the ages of 19 and 90 from the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington state, the 13th largest media market in the United States with the highest Internet usage in the nation.

Forty-five percent of those sampled described themselves as video-game players -- more men (55.9 percent) than women (44.1 percent).

Female players had a higher rate of depression and much lower overall "health status" than female non-players. The researchers postulated that playing video games may be a type of "digital self-medication," a form of distraction for women.

Men who identified themselves as regular video-game players had a much higher body mass index (BMI) than male non-players, not surprising given the sedentary nature of the activity. Male video-game players also used the Internet overall considerably more often than their non-playing counterparts.

All the video gamers, despite gender, reported a greater reliance on the Internet for social support, according to the findings.

"Internet community support and time spent online distinguished adult video-game players from non-players, a finding consistent with prior research pointing to the willingness of adult video-game enthusiasts to sacrifice real-world social activities to
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