Researchers Study Link between Pokémon GO and a Healthier Lifestyle

Pokémon GO's worldwide release sent crowds hiking through parks, meandering into streets and walking for miles in search of Pokémon, those cute little digital characters that appear in real locations on your smartphone. Capturing the little monsters isn't just fun for the players, it might be good for their health. Too often we sit at a desk all day, spend countless hours in the car, and with a smartphone glued to our hands it is too easy to spend our free time watching videos, playing games and browsing the internet. Such sedentary behaviors cause us to sit more and exercise less.

However, Kent State University researchers found that playing a popular physically-interactive, smartphone based game, like Pokémon GO, may actually promote exercise.

Jacob Barkley, Ph.D., Andrew Lepp, Ph.D., and Ellen Glickman, Ph.D., from Kent State's College of Education, Health and Human Services assessed the ability of the popular, physically-interactive, smartphone based video game Pokémon GO to increase walking and decrease sedentary behavior, like sitting. Over 350 college students reported their physical activity and sedentary behavior the week before they downloaded Pokémon GO, the week immediately after downloading the game, and again several weeks later.

Results show that, relative to the week before downloading Pokémon GO, students doubled their daily walking behavior (102 percent increase) and reduced sedentary behavior by 25 percent during the first week after downloading. When comparing behavior several weeks after downloading Pokémon GO, to the week before downloading, walking and sedentary behavior was still 68 percent greater and 18 percent lower, respectively, even though frequency of game play decreased by 58 percent.

"While the largest increases in walking and decreases in sitting occurred during the first week after downloading, when the game was new to the user, those positive effects largely persisted weeks later," Barkley said. "It is possible that games like Pokémon GO may help people initiate a positive health behavior change, such as more daily walking and less sitting."

The researchers suggest that while many smartphone functions may promote sedentary activity, they are hopeful that playing physically-interactive, smartphone based video games like Pokémon GO may help promote walking and reduce sitting in college students.

Barkley Jacob E., Lepp Andrew, Glickman Ellen L.
"Pokémon Go!" May Promote Walking, Discourage Sedentary Behavior in College Students.
Games for Health Journal 2017 63, 165-170, doi: 10.1089/g4h.2017.0009

Most Popular Now

NHS Staff Punished as 500,000 Rely on Wh…

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other unauthorised instant messaging (IM) apps are being used by approximately 500,000 NHS staff at work, as a growing number turn to consumer tools to communicate...

Call for Abstracts: European Telemedicin…

27 - 29 May 2018, Sitges, Barcelona, Spain. The European Telemedicine Conference 2018 (ETC18) is an interdisciplinary forum for healthcare professionals, directors, managers, and researchers with the intent of bringing together...

conhIT 2018: The stage is Set for Dialog…

17 - 19 April 2018, Berlin, Germany. Finding out about and supporting all aspects of the digital transformation of the healthcare system: that is what this year's conhIT, Europe's largest event...

Smartphone 'Scores' can Help Doctors Tra…

Parkinson's disease, a progressive brain disorder, is often tough to treat effectively because symptoms, such as tremors and walking difficulties, can vary dramatically over a period of days, or even...

Focus on the Digital Transformation - A …

17 - 19 April 2018, Berlin, Germany. How is the digitalisation of the healthcare system affecting the relationship between patients and doctors? What new innovations and solutions does the health IT...

Portable Device Detects Severe Stroke in…

A new device worn like a visor can detect emergent large-vessel occlusion in patients with suspected stroke with 92 percent accuracy, report clinical investigators at the Medical University of South...

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Fl…

For every two mobile apps released, one is a clone of an existing app. However, new research published in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research shows the success of the...

Merck Partners with Medisafe to Help Imp…

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced a new collaboration with US-based Medisafe to help its cardiometabolic patients better manage medication intake and adhere to prescribed treatment regimens...

Philips Research-led Big Data Consortium…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, together with its consortium partners, today announced that it has received funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 program...

Smartphone App Performs Better than Trad…

A smartphone application using the phone's camera function performed better than traditional physical examination to assess blood flow in a wrist artery for patients undergoing coronary angiography, according to a...

Deep Learning Transforms Smartphone Micr…

Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by smartphones...