I know it sounds counter intuitive, but it’s a piece of advice I gleaned from reading the You! books by Drs. Oz and Roizen. Basically, they argue that by playing video games, people will keep their hands busy and eat less. I actually like this piece of advice and have been following it for several months, long before I even read their recommendation. However, I feel the need to qualify my praise for video games.
I am an active person. I do cardio five days a week for around an hour each time. I also lift weights for over an hour, 3 days a week. Thus, when I play video games, it is a part of a very active lifestyle. Essentially, video games are occasionally part of my evening or weekend downtime. In fact, downtime is very rare with family and work obligations. So, in practice I play video games on average of about 2 hours a week. And, it does help keep me from snacking. Thus, moderation is the key.
However, clearly video games are a problem if they take the place of activity and are a part of a sedentary lifestyle. I’d guess that the vast, vast majority of video game users fall into this category. In fact, one of the reasons that I became a chubby pre-teen was because a childhood lifestyle of kickball gave way to playing the Nintendo. Yes, my weight gain actually corresponded with the marketing of the original Nintendo system!
So, I can see a place for video games in keeping people busy, but only in moderation and for people who live an active lifestyle and for whom playing will not be a replacement for this lifestyle. For children, I think it’s important that video games be kept to a minimum.