President Obama Links Videogames to Unhealthy Kids

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President Obama Links Videogames to Unhealthy Kids

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In a speech to the American Medical Association, President Barack Obama once again suggested that overindulgence in videogames is turning U.S. youths into unhealthy little fatbodies.

While Obama's election was widely applauded by gamers, the President has often linked videogaming to underachievement in American youth, in addresses both before and after taking office. He returned to the subject again today, telling members of the American Medical Association that part of his initiative to reform the U.S. health care system will be a focus on "preventive care," which includes cutting back on the videogames.

"The second step [in health care reform] that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children," he said. "It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside."

To be fair, Obama doesn't appear to be targeting videogames as an insidious evil eating away at the very moral fabric of our society; he just wants kids to get outside and play more, and I don't see where that's a particularly bad idea. The problem isn't videogames as much as it is the fact that videogames are a very visible and very topical factor in the spread of the increasingly sedentary Western lifestyle. The massive popularity of videogames may be new, but the idea that overindulgence is unhealthy most definitely isn't.

Source: Wall Street Journal, via GamePolitics

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Just as much as television or facebook/twitter. I understand his point but the idea of going outside and playing hopscotch just isn't as cool as playing EA's HOP SCOTCH CHAMPION 09.

I believe it.

SirSchmoopy:
Just as much as television or facebook/twitter. I understand his point but the idea of going outside and playing hopscotch just isn't as cool as playing EA's HOP SCOTCH CHAMPION 09.

I agree when I play sports in the "outside" game this water comes out of my skin and makes me smell bad, AND I have to stand up. I'd rather just play the game indoors, whilst sitting down.

President Obama also thinks that war is a good idea...

Maybe getting the youth off MySpace and Facebook is a better reform... Oh, and getting them out of McDonalds.

He makes a fair point, although all this health and safety BS doesn't make it as easy as it should be.

why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

Wow. He's discovered that too much inactivity causes obesity in most people. What a discovery.

While he makes a fair point, telivision in general holds just about as much blame, stop singling out the gamers *goes back behind anti-politician bunker*

Wouldn't this turn back full circle back to parenting though. As a kid my parents would kick my ass outside for the day. I would be allowed back in to eat or use the can but that would be it. I do understand that the world is a scarier place than it was back then but still. It isn't like the world was perfect back then either.

Because it couldn't be, you know, the culture that is responsible. No no, the culture is perfect. Maybe they need to stop looking elsewhere and take a good look at themselves and realize: maybe the fact we have 20 McDonalds in a small town and vending machines in schools are contributing factors more than whether a kid plays a couple hours of Prototype a day. No doubt videogames don't help, like anything if you overdo it there will be negative consequences. But there are far more worthy sources that they could be focusing their time and energy on.

Darkside360 is going to be all over this.

link670:
While he makes a fair point, telivision in general holds just about as much blame, stop singling out the gamers *goes back behind anti-politician bunker*

I agree.

Now move over. There's plenty of space in here for everyone.

PureChaos:
why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

You have a point about the fatty foods and stuff but if those kids did go outside more and not spend to much inside they would lose most of that weight they put on.

One thing to note from his speech, he recognizes that kids are playing videogames. What did kids do before videogames? Play outside? No, they watched TV. If you simply take away videogames, the children will just watch TV.

The only thing that can get the kids outside is the parents. Madden football is fun, why don't you go and buy your kid a real football and see if they can reenact some of that in-game awesomeness? Hell, make it so that in order to play their games, they have to race you around the outside of your house/block first?

He is right, you know.

Damn, leave it to Obama to take a statement we all hate and be completely cool about it.

PureChaos:
why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

There are fatties in Sweden too, but fatty food is not even nearly as popular here as in say America.

I know it's hard, but we've gotta admit that there is some sort of truth in what Obama is saying.

poncho14:

PureChaos:
why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

You have a point about the fatty foods and stuff but if those kids did go outside more and not spend to much inside they would lose most of that weight they put on.

yeah, i had that thought once i posted it but i don't go outside and exercise much but i watch what i eat so it's not a problem. it's swings and roundabouts, really.

Psychosocial:

PureChaos:
why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

There are fatties in Sweden too, but fatty food is not even nearly as popular here as in say America.

I know it's hard, but we've gotta admit that there is some sort of truth in what Obama is saying.

SOME truth, yes

link670:
While he makes a fair point, telivision in general holds just about as much blame, stop singling out the gamers *goes back behind anti-politician bunker*

Not these days it doesn't. Traditional media (TV, Magazines, Newspapers) are losing the battle for viewership, especially among young people. Had you said "the internet", you would have been more correct.

Let's get the list out.

*Removes impossibly long, dusty-looking and ancient list*

Now, things bad for the health. Starting at 'A'... Arrmaggedon, Asbestos, Attilla The Hun, Bees, Blades, Blunt Instruments....

*Continues on for the next four years, until*

Ah, Videogames! Here we are: "Videogames are, like Television, Reading, Wargaming, Websurfing and drinking coffee, bad for one's health if one indulges in them in Extremis and neglects the other facets of a healthy life; like Movement."

He has a point I'll give him that, but does he honestly think he'll get this entire generation of youths to drop the video game controllers and go outside for more than a day? I wouldn't think so, no. But I would say he shouldn't give up and I'm just glad he hasn't linked all video games to be evil like some journalists and certain media I could care to mention, thats right, I'm coming after YOU Glenn Beck of CNN...

Underacheivment, really, I'm a big videogamer and yet I'm one of the smartest students in my entire class. I think ratinaly, I get high grades (except in language arts, but I dont care that a form can fit meaning or that I need to write 3rd person instead of 1st) and I acually understand why many people do things, including why us gamers play videogames. Videogames are a way to leave reality and expeirnce a fantacy, or a action experience that we may create without worrying about conciquences. The bad part about that is that many people can blur the reality of videogames and reality and not think befor they act because they can get so used to it. But videogames are not directly connected to underacheivment (as I said I'm very smart) or being overweight, it just depends how much time you invest in them, all you have to do is eat a little less and go for a bike ride on those sunny days and you've got yourself an easy way to stay in shape while still experiencing the thrill of killing and opponent or completing that quest. But in many ways videogames have acually helped me, they have shown me to not get extreamly excited about something so that I don't get dissapointed when it all goes wrong and this has led me to back up my thoughts and think about what is really a better choice wether it be buying annother game or annything els.

Kwil:

link670:
While he makes a fair point, telivision in general holds just about as much blame, stop singling out the gamers *goes back behind anti-politician bunker*

Not these days it doesn't. Traditional media (TV, Magazines, Newspapers) are losing the battle for viewership, especially among young people. Had you said "the internet", you would have been more correct.

My point is that they are singling out video games when there are so many other factors.

Oh joy, another critic.

And here's me thinking sat on my ever expanding arse playing the PS3 was helping me lose weight.

Video games don't make you unhealthy or bad in school... playing video games TOO MUCH does

Same with the whole 'meat is unhealthy for you' BS from those pretentious veggie/vegan idiots. No it's not, OVER EATING on meat is what's unhealthy.

Most of this stuff isn't unhealthy unless you overdo it. Geez.. NO common sense whatsoever

Ginnipe:
Underacheivment, really, I'm a big videogamer and yet I'm one of the smartest students in my entire class. I think ratinaly, I get high grades (except in language arts, but I dont care that a form can fit meaning or that I need to write 3rd person instead of 1st) and I acually understand why many people do things, including why us gamers play videogames.

Are you me?

There is definately some truth to what Obama is saying, though that more applies to general things rather than video games in specific, which he did not single out.

Some of you are making a bigger deal than you really should be, the phrase "video games" gets tossed around in discussion more than we think and it usually just means entertainment in general.

Extremes in anything can be bad for ones health. Limiting video game time for your kids, such as using parental controls and such, can keep them in moderation. I mean, isn't that what we want parents to do? Actively engage in what their kids are doing and making sure they're not glued to it 24/7?

I'm going to go with, "Duh."

pantsoffdanceoff:

I agree when I play sports in the "outside" game this water comes out of my skin and makes me smell bad

That's cancer. Seriously. Get that checked out.

Xvito:
President Obama also thinks that war is a good idea...

Oh man, I really want to know where you got that from. Do you have an audio clip or something? I want that as my ringtone, just Obama being all "And I say... to you, my fellow Americans... fuck the children, let's kill some bitches."

squid5580:
I do understand that the world is a scarier place than it was back then but still. It isn't like the world was perfect back then either.

We need to bring back lawn darts. Not only is it a fun game, but the kids can use the darts as shanks to fend off roaming gangs of pedophiles!

PureChaos:
why am i not surprised games are being blamed for unhealthy kids, too?? McDonalds, chocolate, deep fried stuff, cake and fatty foods have NOTHING to do with it, it's all video games' fault

newguy77:
Wow. He's discovered that too much sitting doesn't burn as much fat as is needed and makes you obese. What a discovery.

These two posts being right next to each other is just brilliant timing. Pay attention kids, this is the sad fact of politics: no matter what we believe, no matter which side we take, the President is still, somehow, a moron.

pantsoffdanceoff:

SirSchmoopy:
Just as much as television or facebook/twitter. I understand his point but the idea of going outside and playing hopscotch just isn't as cool as playing EA's HOP SCOTCH CHAMPION 09.

I agree when I play sports in the "outside" game this water comes out of my skin and makes me smell bad, AND I have to stand up. I'd rather just play the game indoors, whilst sitting down.

And really, a Wii is NOT EXCERSIZE, if you get wet(AKA sweat) then take a shower. Anything that is on the Wii, no matter what it is is not excersize. Go play outside and play a real game, that is an easy way to stay healthy and still have a good experience. Plus compettativeness builds chairactor, if your not good try out different possitions. My coach told me to be on offence which I liked, but my athsma got in the way of me meeting my full potntial, so I switched myself to defence and now no one gets by me.

What he says is probably true.

More importantly, however, why is this any of the president's business?

link670:
My point is that they are singling out video games when there are so many other factors.

But...he's not.

"It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside."

Do you have any idea how often the phrase "video games" gets tossed around, and not in the controversial ones? It's just a broad phrase for "entertainment" really. How many times have you heard your parents tell you "Stop playing your video games and do something!" or whatever similar? Same idea here, video games aren't exactly the most productive things a kid could do is it?

"C'mon, move your ass a bit! Stop playing with your computer games!" is what my dad always says when he wants to antagonize me to get off the damn computer. It's just in general terms, it's not singling it out. More people need to read the damn article and use some comprehention skills.

Nurb:

Same with the whole 'meat is unhealthy for you' BS from those pretentious veggie/vegan idiots. No it's not, OVER EATING on meat is what's unhealthy.

Actually, little known fact, but everyone that has ever eaten meat has been dead within a hundred years. True.

It's because beef is filled with little worms that squirm down your throat and piss in your liver.

yeah to much gaming is bad for you but going outside and doing stuff is exhausting
so its easier to stay in and do something that you enjoy.

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