Young women, beware: Playing computer games might pack on the pounds, new research suggests.
The study included about 2,500 people in Sweden between the ages of 20 and 24 who were tracked from 2007 to 2012.
Normal-weight women who played computer games for at least one hour a day were more likely to become overweight over those five years than those who did not play computer games. That’s according to researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.
“The increased BMI [body mass index, a measure of obesity] in those who played computer games for more than two hours would for a young woman of average height and weight equal an additional weight gain of 3.7 kilos [8.2 pounds],” study author Sara Thomee, a psychologist, said in a university news release.
“That calculation takes other risk factors for obesity into account, such as age, occupation, total daily computer time, physical activity during free time, sleep and perceived social support,” she added.
Playing computer games was not associated with weight gain in men. Further research is needed to determine why only women seemed to gain weight, Thomee said.
She and her colleagues said the findings suggest that young women who play computer games may be an important target group for programs to prevent weight gain.
The study, which did not prove that computer games cause women to gain weight, was published recently in the journal BMC Public Health
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains how to prevent weight gain.