Swiss researchers find a "strong association" between playing games and childhood weight gain.
Anti-game activists got more ammo yesterday, thanks to a Swiss study that partially blamed video games for childhood obesity. In a press release, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University Hospital Zurich announced the findings of a joint study which will be published in next month's scintillating issue of Obesity Research.
The study surveyed 872 children in first, second, and third grades in 10 schools in northeastern Switzerland. It measured several factors, including: age, sex, nationality, number of siblings, smoking status of parents, television programs regularly watched, breakfast consumption, watching television during meals, snacking while watching television, and the amount of time subjects played electronic games.
Despite the numerous factors involved, researchers said "Obesity was independently associated with the time spent playing electronic games and the time spent watching television." However, the researchers release gave no specific evidence why games made kids more likely to be obese other than they were "inversely associated with physical activity."
Interestingly, the study also found that foreign children living in Switzerland, where the per capita chocolate consumption is 21 pounds per year (twice the US average), were "twice as likely to be obese than Swiss children." The study attributed Swiss children's relative slimness to cultural differences, but did not mention yodeling, clog dancing, or alpine sports specifically.