Conversation topics have changed. Gone are the days people talked about what TV series they watched the previous night, to be replaced with talk on where they walked and which Pokémon they caught.
That’s right, the latest app craze is making people go outside, walk around and even exercise, can you imagine? Gamers who would barely leave the house a few weeks ago are reportedly spending hours walking, and even running, around chasing Pokémons. Pokémon GO has entered millions of homes. If you haven’t heard of it, you may as well be living under a rock.
And it comes at the right moment since obesity is a huge concern, as more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other sedentary activities, according to a report published in Annals of Internal Medicine in 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that a total of 17% (12.7 million) of children and teens in the US, between the ages of 2 and 19, are obese as well as 37.9% of adults aged 20 and older.
Walking is a big part of the game, which equals burning calories. Take the average US adult weight of 195 pounds, in men, 160 in women, they will burn between 300 and 367 calories to hatch an egg and 700 calories if they went for the 10 km stroll.
Regular physical exercise is an established recommendation for preventing the main modifiable cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia and healthy mental state too. On the other hand, physical exercise also has important effects on the central nervous system. One interesting observation is that its effects are produced in all stages of life, because exercise improves the learning ability of adolescents and has beneficial effects for adult diseases, such as depression, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease.
Mostly of us have a job that involves sitting in front of a computer most of the day. Having a dog for example can be very beneficial: they get them up out of the chair for walks a couple times a day. But despite that, we do not meet the recommendations for daily physical activity. We have a sedentary behaviour and our children do too.
We are faced with an important opportunity to know if we can use Pokémon GO to prevent or even treat some of the most serious diseases.
Medtep Chief Medical Officer