Friday, July 29, 2016

The Pokémon Cure?

Earlier this week we came across a Forbes piece entitled 'Pokémon GO' May Be This Generation's Cure For Obesity." The article describes how it's writer, who was apparently so uninterested in exercise he had, it appears, broken up with a girlfriend rather than accompany her to the gym, starting walking more than he was used to while playing the game. It doesn't really explain how the game could be any kind of a cure for obesity.

Now, don't get us wrong, we strongly encourage our patients at Dr. Feiz & Associates to exercise in any way that they can, and walking is great. It can definitely help with weight loss somewhat, but its health benefits go far beyond the relatively very few calories we burn off when we exert ourselves. At the same time, there are more studies indicating that exercise might be more important for helping to reverse the bad health outcomes of obesity rather than actually causing weight loss.

The point here is that some non-obese readers will undoubtedly argue that people who obtain a bariatric surgery are somehow being lazy because, they might say, all obese individuals really need to do is to find a reason to get out more and walk. The problem is that exercise, as wonderful as it is for both our physical and mental health, does little to reduce the desire to overeat that motivates our patients to get such procedures as the gastric sleeve.

Of course, anything that motivates people to exercise, including Pokémon GO, is a good thing. For children, it's possible the game could be very useful we're sure, in terms of getting kids in the habit of exercising, and possibly could help prevent obesity in adulthood. But, at least for adults, whose weight and eating habits are pretty much set, we're pretty sure a video game craze is not going to single-handedly cure many cases of severe obesity. On the other hand, if an obese person starts exercising more because of the game and continues the habit throughout their life, it really could be a lifesaver. So, we're definitely for people going out in search of cute monsters if that's what gets them to take a walk...just don't expect capturing that capturing Pikachu will make you thin!

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