People who played Pokémon Go increased their daily step count by 1,000 steps

Despite conventional wisdom, it looks like substantial numbers of people are willing to be physically active for long periods of time.

The early mania for Pokémon Go may be receding (the USA has been declared as having hit peak Pokémon GO by July 14, just a week after release - read more about this from Survey Monkey here) but the user numbers - daily user numbers still exceed 20m - are certainly high enough for us to start to pull out an indicative conclusion or two.

Preliminary research by a Harvard Medical School clinical informatics fellow seems to indicate that getting caught up in the new online craze Pokémon Go could boost a person's health, Fierce Healthcare reports here

  • The study showed that, on average, Pokémon Go players added 1,000 step counts daily.
  • Researcher John Torous looked at data from Achievemint, a data aggregation and rewards platform for fitness app users, and compared the results of members who played Pokémon Go and those who did not. He also compared Pokémon Go players’ step counts 30 days prior to and after starting to play the game.

And people with a body mass index over 30 increased their step counts twice as fast as those with lower BMIs, the study shows. But that surge was only maintained for the first two weeks that the person played the game.

An editorial in Games for Health Journal called for more “well-conceived and rigorously designed studies” on Pokémon Go’s potential health effects, as noted by Fierce Healthcare.

“It is clear from the release of Pokémon Go and ensuring episode of game play that, despite conventional wisdom, substantial numbers of people (even some couch potatoes?) were willing to be physically active (i.e., substantial walking) for long periods of time(some newspaper stories reported some players were chasing Pokémon for hours at a time),” writes Tom Baranowski, Baylor College of Medicine department of pediatrics and the journal’s editor-in-chief. “What could we possibly learn from this?”

This article was originally published at August 2016.

ian-sibbald230x230.jpgAuthor: Ian Sibbald
Director, Citrus Mind Ltd.


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