Friday, January 22, 2010

Rickets linked to excessive gaming

While blaming games for all imaginable ills in society is not a new phenomenon, this one is quite the leap: According to this article, researchers in the UK are focusing on the rise of British kids afflicted with rickets, correlated with excessive gaming indoors.

But Florence, correlation does not causation imply, you say?

What we know, thanks to research, is that lack of sunlight (vitamin D) and diet, and exercise is common trait amongst those with rickets.
I would agree that:
1) staying indoors all the time (regardless of what one is doing) would deprive someone of sunlight
2) Poor diet (and exercise) would also cause a general malaise, leaving one susceptible to all sorts of afflictions, amongst them rickets.

This does not, however, mean videogames are specifically the 'root cause.' I also doubt that the research article itself would make such a claim (rather, a quote, possibly taken out of context). A cheap strategy, but hey it got our attention, right?

I am continually in awe of the strength these biomedically aligned arguments against games have. Lack of good diet, sunlight, and exercise are always good things to encourage in people. But why the hate on videogames specifically? Because it's sexy? So, should I go play my DS on the beach then?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's something interesting I've noticed. I'm currently taking a class on public health and the built environment, i.e. suburban development patterns that discourage walking and cycling and make populations dependent on cars.

There's some mention of video games in this literature too, as being contributors to sedentary lifestyles. I think the picture is much more well-rounded out when we COMBINE the social-economic and cultural factors, with these environmental factors as well. Not one, but ALL these things, plus things like genetic factors, in tandem, seem like a much more plausible "cause."

.. But I'm certainly not lining up to head up the design on that research project. At least not yet. :D

4:32 PM  
Anonymous reputation management said...

Thanks for this knowledgeable post. Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D and is often the result of poor diet and a lack of exposure to sunlight. It was very common in Victorian times and earlier eras before improved diet rendered it exceedingly rare.Thanks.

9:41 PM  

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