The latest smartphone craze Pokémon Go could be an unexpected tool in combating rising obesity levels and diabetes, leading researchers have claimed.
Dr Tom Yates, a Reader in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior and Health at the University of Leicester based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said:
“Recent figures suggest five million people in England are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is largely associated with physical inactivity obesity.
“If there is something out there which is getting people off the sofa and pounding the streets then this game could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels.”
Pokémon Go which was released in July by Ninatic on July 6th and by the end of the month had exceeded over 100 million users.
Where Pokémon Go differs from many other smartphone or PC games is that players are required to travel to various real life locations to further their game.
Players use a mobile device’s GPS ability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.
Dr Yates has responded positively to the interactive aspect of the game, adding;
“If there is something out there which is getting people off the sofa and pounding the streets then this game could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels.
“Walking is hugely underrated yet it is man’s best and the cheapest form of exercise. It’s an easy and accessible way to get active and help maintain a healthy body.”
Being overweight is the biggest factor in potentially contracting Type 2 Diabetes as it accounts for 80-85 per cent of the overall risk.
The Department of Health recommends that adults should aim to be active every day. It suggests that adults should attempt at 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise over a week in order to fight the risk of diabetes.
Tim Booth, aged 45 from Market Harborough is an avid Pokémon Go user, despite suffering from social anxiety disorder. Prior to using the game his disorder left him rarely able to leave his home. Speaking to ITV News he said;
“I originally thought it was just for kids, but I downloaded it to see what all the fuss was about and for the first time in years I’ve left the house and walked miles just by following what’s going on in the game.
“When I get home, I’m exhausted but it’s actually been great getting out and about and exercising without even realizing that I’m doing it.”