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‘Pokémon Go’ Could Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Study Finds

Jul 26, 2016 03:27 AM EDT
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'Pokémon Go' could help prevent type-2 diabetes risks, leading diabetes researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Leicester, UK said that the smartphone craze 'Pokémon Go' could be an "innovative solution" to increasing obesity cases, which is a major cause of type 2-diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"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," Dr. Tom Yates, an expert in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior and Health at the University of Leicester, said in a press release.

"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," Yates added.

Obesity is considered the "most potent risk factor" for type-2 diabetes, accounting for 80 to 85 percent of the overall risk of developing the condition, the researchers said. According to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and apart from type 2 diabetes, obesity could also cause heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancers.

Data from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) also point to physical inactivity as a leading contributor to rising obesity rates in the U.S. According to StateOfObesity.org, a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for one in 10 deaths among U.S. adults.

The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages the habit of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including moderate physical activity for up to 30 minutes daily.

'Pokémon Go,' which is an augmented reality hunting game, usually requires players to walk around to catch Pokémon monsters that appear on their mobile phone screens.

According to the study, 'Pokémon Go' users are leaving their homes to walk for miles by just playing the game, engaging in intense physical activity without them noticing.

In a study conducted by the University of Leicester last year, researchers showed the importance of breaking up prolonged periods of sitting with a five-minute light movement. The research showed that women could avoid developing type-2 diabetes by regularly standing up or walking. 

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