Pokémon GO has had a “tantalizing side-effect” of helping players to exercise more and so become healthier, a UK-based medical practitioner has claimed in an academic journal.
Writing in an editorial in the British Medical Journal, Dr Margaret McCartney says that, while Pokémon GO is not promoted as a health app, it has led gamers to walk a lot and, as a result, improve their health – even if, in many cases, they might have done so only inadvertently.
McCartney, who works as a medical practitioner in the Scottish city of Glasgow, cited one example of a player who, while engaged with the game, walked 140 miles and, in the process, lost 27lb. This supports claims that Pokémon GO could help with tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes, though McCartney acknowledged that these claims are based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific studies.
She observed: “Like most things, playing it has a mix of benefit and risk. We never hear about the things that didn’t happen: the heart attacks prevented through more exercise, or the vitamin D deficiency that geeks have avoided, blinking in the sunlight while catching a Pikachu monster.”