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UK Government Ads Link Games With "Early Death" 232

An anonymous reader writes "The UK government, backed by a bunch of charities that raise funds for research into cancer, heart disease and diabetes, has launched an advertising campaign that links the 'inactive' or passive gaming lifestyle with death and illness. It's part of a bigger 'Change4Life' campaign that has also linked playing games with making children obese. The new ads show a young child playing a PlayStation game, with the caption 'Risk an early DEATH, just do nothing.' To say this has annoyed the UK games industry would be a grave understatement. Trade association ELSPA has already called an urgent meeting with authorities to have the ads pulled, and trade magazine MCV has complained to the country's Advertising Standards Authority as well. As MCV Associate Editor Tim Ingham says in an impassioned opinion piece, 'Change4Life's advertising campaign makes a mockery of everything the industry has achieved in the last decade.'"
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UK Government Ads Link Games With "Early Death"

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  • Fine, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @02:51AM (#27110413)

    A sedentary lifestyle can be linked to obesity, which in turn *can* be linked to death and illness. The summary is a little too... angry....

    Still, it's partially correct. Instead of arguing that "GAMES ARE BAD AAAWR", the advert could have simply advocated a balanced lifestyle. There's nothing inherently bad about gaming, so long as you remember to exercise. Indeed, some games and game systems (Wii?) can even *encourage* exercise.

    • by Shin-LaC ( 1333529 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:54AM (#27110621)
      Indeed, singling out games like the ad does only risks getting the wrong message across ("games are bad" instead of "a sedentary lifestyle is bad"). They should balance it out by making an ad showing a girl reading a book under the same "Risk an early DEATH, just do nothing" caption.
      • by jabithew ( 1340853 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:08AM (#27110809)

        They don't single games out in the ads, there's a whole series of them. Most of the ones I've seen focus on what to do [] as opposed to what not to do.

        I'd be surprised if they didn't have others showing watching TV and using a computer. They're probably not going to attack reading any time soon though, given the amount of money they've spent trying to persuade kids to read at all, and excessive reading is not noticeably a problem in UK youth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 )
          Ahh, the wonderful world of statistics. Now do you think that it might just be possible that people suffering from terminal illnesses who have limited mobility and are very restricted in the activities they can participate in, might just possibly be playing computer games and accessing the internet, to improve the quality their quality of life and to provide a measure of escape from the reality of their life, nahh, that could just not possibly be true ;D.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Are you kidding? Fitness initiatives have been targeting TV for pretty much as long as TV has existed. Games aren't being "singled out."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NoobixCube ( 1133473 )

      I'd probably go so far as to say that gaming is about a hundred times better for you, physically and mentally, than watching TV. TV doesn't seem to engage my mind, or get my heart rate up - watching TV is just something I do when I need a change of screenery.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:22AM (#27110693)

      Diet is a much more reliable indicator of obesity. Yes, going outside and climbing trees or whatever it is that kids do these days will help burn fat, but burning fat away is notoriously slow compared to gaining weight, and unreliable at that because exercise tends to increase the munch instinct. And statistically, according to an employee my insurance agency, the years you'll live longer will be outweighed by the amount of exercise you do. At a factor of three or so. So you'll have to make sure that whatever exercise it is you're doing is a lot of fun. And too much exercise has been linked with neurological and joint issues. So if you don't like exercising, don't do it, íf your diet is varied and healthy you'll burn up any excess energy just running about the house, cycling to school, the supermarket, friends and such. Maybe you won't maximize your lifespan, but I think you will come a lot closer to maximising total happiness which at least to me is a much more pressing concern. And if you're really worried about your kids not getting enough exercise, maybe they'll like DDR or Wii Fit. Or you could, you know, take them to the woods on a Saturday and have some family time together. Just a thought.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrKaos ( 858439 )

        Diet is a much more reliable indicator of obesity.

        I like playing games but I think I enjoy exercise more. Frankly there is only so much of your 'diet' you can control without a lot of discipline. When I play games for a long stint I practically only eat fruit, and my body still screams at me to go and do a workout. And I doubt many of the gamers out there are just eating fruit when they are on a big games stint.

        Let's be realistic here. When I go into a games shop most of the gamers aren't even wearing an

        • by EsbenMoseHansen ( 731150 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @09:58AM (#27112019) Homepage

          Diet can make you thin. Exercise can make you fit. It is quite possible to be thin and unhealthily out of shape -- especially older girls/young women are prone to this condition. That said, you don't need that *much* exercise to get to the point where it isn't killing you anymore... if you can take a flight of stairs at a run without wheezing too much at the top, you're probably ok. As for weight, BMI is very easy if somewhat inaccurate.

      • by xelah ( 176252 )

        Diet is a much more reliable indicator of obesity.

        Yes, but if these adverts (I haven't seen them) are linking inactivity only with health risks via obesity then IMO they're making a mistake. Lack of exercise is bad for you whether you're a healthy weight or not and it's only going to lead to people dismissing exercise because they're not overweight.

    • An AC said it, but let me reiterate exercise don't make skinny [], diet is way more important. If they want to make posters about fat dead people, they need to make ads against candy, chips, and fast food.

      This ad campaign is either video game bashing or just wrong.
      • Most of the posters are about getting people to eat vegetables, as well as do some exercise from time to time. See some here [].

        And the adverts are about being healthy, not skinny. Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle.

    • Re:Fine, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:18AM (#27111013) Journal
      Like there wasn't any fat and lazy kids before the invention of the Playstation? C'mon, fat and lazy has been around forever and if they wanted to do something about fat and lazy why are they not saying anything about the boob tube? There are a hell of a lot more fat and lazy(not to mention stupid) people who do nothing but stare at the idiot box. They never read, never stimulate their mind OR their body, just stare at that damned box. If they want to target fat and lazy imho THAT would be the place to start. But then again a population that actually read and thought would be seen as bad to the new nanny governments of the world.
      • Re:Fine, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy @ g m a> on Sunday March 08, 2009 @08:38AM (#27111617)

        Like there wasn't any fat and lazy kids before the invention of the Playstation?

        I would certainly say that sedentary lifestyles have become a lot more common over the last couple of decades. Game consoles aren't the only factor, by a long way, but they are certainly a contributor.

        Back when I was a kid, game consoles were expensive and, hence, uncommon. The cartoons and such on TV were much better than they are today, but they were also only on for a couple of hours in the afternoon, rather than 24/7. You pretty much *had* to go outside and do stuff because there wasn't anything else *to* do.

        Although, like I said, it's hardly the only contributing factor. Increasing urbanisation (so less space for kids to get out and do stuff), substantially worse diets (and much easier access to bad food), the modern scourge of helicopter parents who won't let their kids outside for fear they'll be kidnapped and, of course, the inevitable feedback loop because every other kid is in the same situation (so even if you do let your kids out of the house, no-one else will, so they'll just go to someone else's house and sit around doing nothing).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drew ( 2081 )

          "Suburbanization" is probably more of a problem than urbanization. In a true urban setting, the average person will get more than enough exercise just walking from place to place because it's the most efficient way to get around. The suburban mindset that you can't go more than a half a block without getting in your car is a much bigger problem. In a big city you would probably never drive less than a half mile because you may end up parking farther away from where you're going than you started. When my

    • Re:Fine, but... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cally ( 10873 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:49AM (#27111407) Homepage
      Sitting on your arse all day playing computer games, and never taking any exercise, is obviously unhealthy. Just as sitting on your arse reading books all day (and never taking exercise), or trolling Slashdot, or listening to music, or working on a new interpretation of the mathematics of M-theory. The best advice any doctor has ever given me was when I was unemployed and, yes, sitting on my arse all day, feeling a bit sorry for myself. (Not clinical depression, but some GPs might have just written an SSRI scrip.) "Go outside and go for a short walk every day, 30 minutes will do, just walk round the village, even if it's raining." (I live in the country.) Four days later I felt /amazingly/ better. If you've got kids, try to get them in the habit of having a walk everyday, without making it into a chore - let them discover that it's enjoyable their own way.
    • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      It CAN be linked to obesity and obesity CAN be linked to to death and illness... but then, just about everything can be linked to anything if you know how the tweak the numbers.
      Some less money-grabbing studies are contradicting that.

      It's just not a popular opinion among 'scientists' and it clearly is not popular among the populace.

      For those who are able to read and understand German, I'd like to recommend Udo Pollmer's 'Esst endlich normal!'. Therein he quotes many studies from reputable scientific organiza

  • by crazybit ( 918023 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @02:51AM (#27110415)
    Nowadays kids have fun playing games like Wii-Sports. With the new generation of controllers, games that require physical activity to be controlled will start to appear.

    Get them some of those games and let them invite their friends to play. They will sweat their asses trying to beat each other. Also never forget to promote real sports too (even if you have to drag them to the playground).
  • I woke up this morning and brushed my teeth. Simultaneously, three people were killed in an auto accident five miles from my house.

    I'm sure the police will be here any time now...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by fotoguzzi ( 230256 )
      That's like right as the Andrea Doria collided with the Stockholm (from memory), a lady flicked on a light switch. She ran up on deck in panic, convinced that she had caused the problem.
  • Last I checked, video games weren't exactly a great way to exercise (no, not even Wii Fit... I own it, I know), and inadequate exercise is still considered to be a risk factor for obesity, which is in turn a a major risk factor in a huge number of potentially deadly conditions and preconditions. I love videogames, and I'm not about to cut back my playing in order to exercise more, but I simply can't in good conscience argue that it wouldn't be a good idea (and I'm not even at risk for obesity... my BMI is a

    • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:07AM (#27110481) Homepage Journal

      obesity, which is in turn a a major risk factor in a huge number of potentially deadly conditions and preconditions.

      Its not a risk for me. Its a certainty. When I was seven years old my grandfather died at the age of 58 from a heart attack. My dad told me at the time what did it and how he planned to avoid it. When I dad was 63 he had a heart attack, and survived because his partner was on the ball and got him to hospital. So knowing what was on the way gained him five years. So here I am, aged 43. I'm not going to let this happen. Am I? Realistically I might be able to delay it another five years.

      • Your grandfather died at age 58. Presumably he was at least 40 before you were born.

        You have that extra 40 years of society's health conciousness going for you. Your mother probably didn't cook with lard when you were a child. His almost certainly did. You probably knew that smoking wasn't good for you. You have "miracle" drugs available to you. When your grandfather died, it was aspirin (maybe) and bed rest.

        You have a lot going for you just for living in the 21st century.

      • Some general advice (you might know this already): - low dose aspirin daily (50-100mg), balanced against the risk of some sort of bleed (most likely stomach ulcer) - low dose beta blocker (atenolol 25mg prob enough) daily - low dose ACE-I (ramipril seems best candidate, more likely best drug company-sponsored research spin and all drugs in this class have similar effect) - regular exercise - don't overdo it and injure yourself another way. - be aware of all the possible manifestations of a heart attack
      • Realistically I might be able to delay it another five years.

        And with the ever-increasing speeds of medical research those last 5 years might be what lets you live a full-length life

        That's kinda what I'm hoping. I'm 27 and have a life expectancy of 20 more years due to my heart condition :-P

        What do you say we meet up in 25 and make a toast to medicine?

    • by glitch23 ( 557124 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:13AM (#27110499)

      I'm not sure what the game publishers are actually protesting here, because this sounds like a pretty clear cut issue to me.

      I believe the problem is that the ad tries to make a direct causal relationship between playing video games and death. And as one of the tags states, correlation is not equal to causation.

      I would even say that it is absolutely valid for a public health agency to advocate substituting physical activities for video games, board games, reading, and other non-physical activites for purely health related reasons.

      The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ... you will die if you play video games.

        Really? you will die if you play video games?

        Somehow I suspect that's true...

      • I would even say that it is absolutely valid for a public health agency to advocate substituting physical activities for video games, board games, reading, and other non-physical activites for purely health related reasons.

        The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

        They actually do do this: The problem is the summarizer in the original column saw the picture of the kid with a controller and jumped straight to the scare tactic of saying the government says you will die if you play video games. What the campaign is actually attacking is the sedentary lifestyle that some parents let their children lead these days. These were a series of magazine ads placed in mags to reach the extreme end of their target market [] - there is also a much more positive get your kids active fo []

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jabithew ( 1340853 )

        The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

        No they didn't. This campaign has been running since the new year, and they started with telling you how to modify your lifestyle in a positive way. They used no scare tactics, favouring a utopian vision. I'm guessing this resort to [] standard NHS tactics []* means it didn't work.

        Besides, I think we have to face the truth here. Gaming to the exclusion of exercise is unhealthy, this campaign has a reasonable point. Denying this makes Slashdotters look like oil executives denying global warming by straw-manning t

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          This whole topic is pretty hilarious. Replace "games" with "tv" and most of Slashdot will immediately praise it, and note that there's nothing but crap on TV anyway (particularly once BSG goes off the air). But put in games and all of a sudden it's an outrage!

    • by supernova_hq ( 1014429 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:10AM (#27110657)

      You have just touched my argument against what they have done. They are aiming directly at video games and while they can contribute to inactive lifestyles, so can a lot of things that most people PROMOTE. What about board games (which you mentioned), reading, building model cars, playing cards, or god forbid, STUDYING!

      The truth is that EVERYTHING we do can contribute to our death if we do too much of it. Play too many video games and you can become obese, build to many model cars and you can inhale paint fumes, exercise to hard and you can have a debilitating injuring, study too much and you can become a recluse (causing obesity), wash your hands too often and you can lower your immune system.

      People need to stop freaking out about every little thing they do and just realise that moderation is everything. Everything can kill you, but few things will do so in moderation.

      • People need to stop freaking out about every little thing they do and just realise that moderation is everything. Everything can kill you, but few things will do so in moderation.

        You say that now, until too much moderation KILLS YOU DEAD!

  • Bullocks. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:02AM (#27110469)
    I've been playing video games all my life and I'm as healt
    • by bky1701 ( 979071 )
      I wasn't aware that playing video games attracted Candlejack. I think we need to get someone to lo
  • Not fair (Score:2, Insightful)

    They're making a bold statement here:

    "Playing Videogames produces sedentarism which in turn produces illness"

    It's not the videogames that make a people sedentary. It's the other way around: sedentary people like to play videogames.

    If videogames didn't exist, those people would just watch tv and still wither and die.
    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      It's not the videogames that make a people sedentary. It's the other way around: sedentary people like to play videogames.

      And you accuse the advert of making a bold statement...

      I know numerous members of the military, manual workers and exercise nuts who are massive gaming fans. I would be surprised if anyone who found evidence that predisposition towards physical activity affects peoples enjoyment of gaming. I expect it is more likely is that there might be some link between 'lazyness' and excessive gam

    • It's not the videogames that make a people sedentary. It's the other way around: sedentary people like to play videogames.

      That argument is just as illogical as the one you are opposing. If correlation does not equal causation, then it applies in all cases, not just the ones you would like it to apply to.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:18AM (#27110511) Journal
    So they're condemning kids sitting around indoors playing video games all the time instead of going outside, running around, and being kids. Fine, I can deal with that. What I can't deal with, is that the UK government has become such a nanny-state that they keep preventing and even outlawing all sorts of activities "because someone might get hurt". So I ask you all: What the fuck are the kids supposed to do??!?
    MEMO TO UK GOVERNMENT: Make up your damned minds, do you want kids to go out and play or DON'T YOU??!?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jabithew ( 1340853 )

      The other problem is for teenagers. Of course they loiter around threateningly, there's nothing for them to do in the average UK town centre now.

    • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:22AM (#27111035)

      DAMN STRAIGHT! Here in the People's Republik of Kalifornia, even dodgeball, tag, and football (unless its flag only) is either discouraged or no longer allowed because someone might get hurt.

      The US has become a nanny-state just like the UK, with the blessings of the asshats in Berkeley who have their heads so far up their own asses they look like doughnuts.

      They have this bizarre idea of turning this world into an idealistic utopia and preach freedoms, while restricting everything under the sun as "dangerous" or "hazardous". What we need is a television ad that tells these straight-jacket loving nutjobs that LIFE IS HAZARDOUS! EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS!

      I had all sorts of dangerous toys and other things when I was growing up (still am growing up!):

      Magnetrons (radiation hazard)
      Lincoln Logs (now a choking hazard)
      Legos (chocking hazard)
      Steam Engines (the kinds that ran on Hexamine tablets) (fire/injury risk)
      Electric Trains (electrocution hazard)
      Chemistry Sets (toxic chemical/explosion hazard)
      Guns (explosion/injury/death risk)
      Firecrackers (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
      Fishing Tackle (sharp object / toxic lead risk)
      Erector Sets (choking/injury hazard)
      ATV's (fire/injury/death risk)
      A Truck (fire/injury/death risk)
      Potato Cannons (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
      Power Tools (fire/injury/death risk)
      Model Rockets (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
      Thermite (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
      A Kerosene Blowtorch (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
      Tool Set (choking/injury hazard)
      Home-Made Bazooka (fire/explosion/injury/death hazard)
      Pneumatic Cannon (explosion/injury/death risk)
      Power Transformers (electrocution hazard)
      Smokeless Powder (explosion hazard)
      Gopher "gassers" (fire/injury/death/chemical hazard)
      Arc Welders / Acetylene Torches .....and the list goes on.....

      Nothing bad ever happened. If I got hurt, I learned my lesson and didn't repeat what I did.

      There is a country song, the name of which I can't remember, that laments the uber-sanitary/safety of everything nowadays. Drinking from a garden hose? Might get toxic chemicals from the rubber. Playing in the dirt? Might get germs. Working around farm animals? Might get anthrax, salmonella or E. Coli. Forget to wash that carrot or radish you just pulled out of the ground? Bad idea, because you might get anthrax, or E. Coli from the dirt.

      Funny, the same people who think up all this shit are the same people who think smoking pot is safe too.....

      Someone ought to put up a public Heath & Safety warning about listening to over-protective idiots..... .....AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE DAMNED "BANNED BOOK LIST"!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gordonjcp ( 186804 )

      What I can't deal with, is that the UK government has become such a nanny-state that they keep preventing and even outlawing all sorts of activities

      Got an example? Articles from the Daily Fail or Daily Torygraph don't count.

  • genetics. (Score:2, Informative)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 )
    genetics is the biggest factor in being a fatass and dieing early. i'm in that group of people that has "survival genes", i can exercise every day of the week till i'm lathered in sweat and i'll only maintain my weight, and when i take a week off i pile on a kg, even though i'm not a big eater.

    My father is the same, so i figure this is just how it goes and i'll have to watch my weight all my life.

    as far as telling kids to get off their ass and doing something, never has a better message been sent. i hope t

    • Re:genetics. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:43AM (#27110901) Homepage
      Sorry about this but I'm going to be blunt: you're likely fooling yourself.

      Genetics may well be a factor and probably is, but as far as I can tell it's not the overriding one. I'm speaking from personal experience here - last summer I reached 16st 1 (225lbs) and decided Something Must Be Done(tm). I also put on weight pretty easily, so my I decided my metabolism wasn't going to help me out here and resigned myself to be fat for all time. Still, I didn't need to be quite that fat so decided to try losing a few lbs.

      I started small - a half-hour on Wii Fit jogging every night, plus a change of diet. After a while a friend asked if I wanted to try for a 10km run, so I started training to do that with him. One night's real running, one night's Wii-Fit running - on and off. I also started using the stairs at work - all 17 floors of them, two flights between each floor, average of around 11 steps per flight. Pretty soon weight was coming off quite fast, and the thing is - the more came off, the better my metabolism become at shedding more of it. I was really proud the day I ran 10km for the first time: in a time I'd now consider disastrously slow. My time then was 1hr 15min - by co-incidence I've just come in from my morning 10km run and did 42mins, still not lightening but not terrible either. That's a short run today too since I'm busy, I normally I'd do a half-marathon every Sunday morning and I'm booked in for my first marathon at the end of May.

      I realise that sounds boastful but this is Slashdot - I fully expect that in the thousands out there reading, somebody somewhere can utterly trounce every achievement I've just mentioned and looks at that level of activity as being weak. No, the reason I'm saying my activity levels these days is to contrast with what was happening when I just came home and sat at the computer, or the console, and barely moved all the while eating take-outs or relatively poor quality food. By Christmas I'd got down to 11t 9 (155 lbs). I've kept at that weight since - never lower, but never much higher either. The key here is that as I got more fit, what I'd put down to genetics about me losing weight turned out actually to be just a side effect of the fact I was already overweight. The fitter I became, the better my ability to stay that way.

      It's something I'd seriously recommend to people - it's not just the weight loss though that's very welcome of course, it has an effect on everything. I'm happier, my mind is sharper, I don't feel so tired all the time, I now find I prefer healthier food to the junk so choosing the healthy option isn't a chore...just a better life all round. I'm no monk either - I cut down on drinking, but I still go out and have a few pints or Black Russians (or both, on a particularly good night...) and yes, the odd pizza is still known to be consumed. The difference is that I know how much work, in a literal physical measurement sense of burning energy, I'm going to have to do to get rid of it so I never allow nights like that to just pile up an up which is what I used to do.

      To bring this all back into context with the parent post and the article: the parent's comment on genetics is likely to be misleading because your ability to metabolise improves the fitter you become. The article is going off on a rant about for once a perfectly reasonable statement from the UK government (and I'm British): a sedantery lifestyle for kids or indeed anyone else is going to be less healthy than an active one, and gaming is associated with a sedantery lifestyle. Yes, even Wii Sports and Wii Fit - I startd out with these and they helped a lot, but they're not a substitute for the real thing. I have three kids and I make absolutely sure they do a lot of running around and playing outside, bu I also encourage them to use the Wii and their DS's too. If I deprived them of some modern entertainment like gaming then I'd be being unreasonable, but if I allowed them to settle into doing nothing but then I'd also be being a bad parent - it's that circumstance that the government is pointing out.

      • Hmm. Nice story.

        I'm in your boat right now. Im a 6'5", ~300 lbs and not liking it. Of course, my height hides a lot more so I can 'get away with it'.

  • I've always thought that unless you are a person who always just watches someone else play (hmm, maybe Korea has lots of these with their televised Starcraft tournaments), you are ACTIVELY participating. Broadcast TV = passive couch potato, gaming = Active.

    This just came to mind when way back in the early 90's there was big hype about "interactive TV" and how viewers could soon decide what happens on the screen (well, in the end it boiled down to being able to vote people off the island), and us gamer-nerds

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) *

      gaming = Active.

      What? Sorry, that is a bit TOO much of a stretch for me. Gaming is not remotely an active lifestyle. To be active, you need to be doing a cardiovascular activity, and Halo 3 is NOT an example. If an activity involves your ass being in contact with a couch, bean-bag, chair, etc. it cannot qualify as a physical activity that promotes good health.

      The only example might possibly be certain games on the Wii, where physical activity is required. You did not provide that as an example, and I wo

      • by Zarhan ( 415465 )

        I meant keeping your brain stimulated kind of activity. When I visit my grandpa at old folks home, the ones that are most alert and talkative, are also the ones who keep setting up a poker table, play Sudoku, etc. The zombies are the ones watching TV, you can get barely a word out of them.

        • So, what the heck does that have to do with physical activity, which is the topic we're discussing? I also think you're mistaken that there's no such thing as "passive" gaming. Some gamers become so habituated to a game that there's not a lot of active thinking going on, just habitual responses. Their actions become no more "interactive" than another person's involvement in the plot of their TV show.
      • If an activity involves your ass being in contact with a couch, bean-bag, chair, etc. it cannot qualify as a physical activity that promotes good health.

        So much for my wheelchair racing activities, and have you ever tried to get OUT of a bean-bag chair?!? That's like 10 minutes of exercise every time to use the washroom or get snack!

  • A long life spent having no fun is no life at all.

    • Alright, but some of us prefer a long life spent having a lot of fun. It's not an either/or choice.

      • Good point. But I was trying to be brief and not write a dissertation.

        What I mean is that what many people find "fun" can shorten your life. Whether it's bungee-jumping, car racing, skydiving, playing video games!, watching the telly from the couch, etc., ad infinitum all have certain risks.

        I'd imagine that bungee-jumping is FAR riskier than playing video games. If that bungee breaks, it's all over. Some people like to play video games. Some people like to bungee-jump. It's all a personal matter, and

        • ---The government has no business in deciding here.

          Yes, they do.

          You pay the government to provide governmental health insurance. Because of that, they now have fiduciary responsibility in your health and what you do and not do. They then get further in your life because it's "their money" so they have to show a modicum of responsibility. Then they'll start banning certain foods and actions because their data said it was too risky.

          That's why we Americans are so iffy about any sort of governmental health plan

  • politicians (Score:5, Funny)

    by speedtux ( 1307149 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:40AM (#27110587)

    If computer gaming is dangerous, just imagine how dangerous the life of a politician must be: sitting around all day in meetings, eating bad food, often smoking, etc.

    I think we need to outlaw politics and throw into jail anybody who tries to spread it.

  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:40AM (#27110589) Homepage

    These "causationisnotcorrelation" tags are flat-out the dumbest part of Slashdot these days.

    Take this particular news story: There are no specific claims of any sort that I can see in any of the article links on either side. There aren't any specific correlations being asserted or presented between anything and anything else that I can tell, just a bunch of bitching on both sides. The "correlationisnotcausation" whine-fest is completely beside the point, like a mass hallucination.

    For future reference, first you must have (a) Specific characteristics being discussed. Then (b) Claims of correlations between them. Then (c) Specifically referenced research that backs up those correlation claims. Only then is it any use to start arguing about "correlationisnotcausation" (and usually not even then).

    The "correlationisnotcausation" tagging is just plain vandalism. I don't think the taggers involved even read the summaries anymore, they just tag everything in sight "correlationisnotcausation", like they're autistic graffiti artists.

    • Am I the only one to notice that the tag attached to the story right now is actually "Causation Is Not Correlation" - which is complete and utter gibberish (as opposed to "Correlation Is Not Causation" which is at least an actual phrase)?
      How is it possible for misspelled or just plain wrong tags like this to get to the front page?
    • These tags are quite honestly silly and I think I'm going to start tagging articles with these tags as causationisnotcausation from now on, for all the sense it makes.

  • avoid passive gaming: "Yes, you can play that game, but you have to sit on this gymnastics ball or in that rocking chair."

    Result: I play a lot of games. (~4 hours per day) Also, I'm not fat. I may not be running any marathons, but I doubt I'll be overwhelmed by obesity or heart disease.

    Cancer though... I'm sure staring at a CRT for the first ten years of my life messed something up. :P

    • Cancer though... I'm sure staring at a CRT for the first ten years of my life messed something up. :P

      They emit electromagnetic radiation, you know!

  • by CuteSteveJobs ( 1343851 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:57AM (#27110631)

    It's easier for the Government to crack down on Games than it is to face up to the Tobacco Lobby: Consider when Tony Blair was UK PM he was caught with a donation from Formula One motor Racing boss Bernie Ecklestone, generously given after Blair changed his mind and decided to allow tobacco sponsorship of the Formula One Grand Prix after all.

    Tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable death in Europe. The World Health Organisation said there have been 40 million tobacco-related deaths since 1999. So how does the British Government Respond? ATTACK GAMES! At least they're consistent with that brilliant Iraq/Afganistan Strategy... []

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gowen ( 141411 )

      It's easier for the Government to crack down on Games than it is to face up to the Tobacco Lobby:

      Right. Because all they've done is (i) completely ban smoking adverts; (ii) raise the legal smoking age to 18 from 16; (iii) put increasedly gruesome warning messages on packs; (iv) massively increased the size of those warning messages; (v) banned tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting events.


      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by damburger ( 981828 )

        Yeah, if they were serious the would've also vi) banned smoking inside public buildings and vii) taxed cigarettes to death to make the habit prohibitively expensive

        Oh, hand on...

    • by Simon ( 815 )

      I agree with you 100% that games are a soft target. But the obvious 'hard' target which they ignored in this case isn't tobacco, but the television and film industries, aka the media. The reasons are obvious. As a government you don't offend the media industry when it has such powerful control over the airwaves and public opinion.

      Actually that rule applies to everyone in the west. Millions of people from all parts of the population spend countless hours of the day parked on the couch, motionless, staring at

  • hop to it, Nintendo! Clearly the Wii is *not* a target of these ads as the Wii is probably the top-most incentive to get -some- exercise in since.. well I'm not sure -what- in the last 20 years (probably before, but I'm not that old) has inspired people to exercise, despite countless 'government' campaigns to try and achieve exactly that.

    Actually, I suppose there was that short-lived Dance Dance Revolution fad...

  • Assuming you fill your snack stash with healthier food, and get maybe an hour of exercise a week, I don't see how games could be anything but just about the safest possible hobby.

    Athletics? All sorts of wear and tear on your body. Many sports carry the risk of head injury. Even golf can destroy your joints and you might get hit by a flying golf ball.

    Going to bars and trying to get laid? Don't get me started on all the risks there.

    Driving sports cars? Skydiving? Riding motorcycles? Rock climbing? Hik

    • by xelah ( 176252 )
      Erm...actually, using a computer for long enough - especially if you're tensing your muscles, sitting badly, pressing too hard and not taking both frequent small and regular large breaks - IS risky and can damage your joints, muscles, tendons and nerves. Both lack of exercise and (separately) obesity will increase the risk of that happening. 'Long enough' isn't necessarily all that long if you're doing it badly enough - a couple of hours a day upwards, I've heard.
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      An hour a week, hey? If I didn't agree with the ads before, I certainly would now.

  • The same thing goes for reading.

  • It's about time.....

    It's the same as the government-mandated warning on cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

    Sitting in front of the TV or computer than, say, going outside and playing a game of catch, will almost certainly result in a loss of muscle, increase in fat, and increased health problems resulting from increased caloric intake and decreased activity, unless your diet consists of nothing but lettuce and water.

  • Sure if your recreation/hobbies are sedentry (video games, reading slashdot, watching TV etc) AND your job is a sedentry one (sitting at a desk all day, and you drive to work or take the bus, then you are probably not getting enough exercise.

    On the other hand if your job involves a lot of moving aroung, lifting, carrying etc, and you walk or cycle to work, then it may not matter that you relax in a couch afterward.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @06:51AM (#27111177)

    Yes, a sedentary lifestyle can damage your health. The government are quick to point this out when you sit down to play a computer game but they don't seem to give a crap that you've got to sit down in front of a PC for 8 or 9 hours a day just to make ends meet.

  • My heart rate regularly gets up over 120 beats/min after I made it to "medium" level. Thats better than a brisk walk for exercise!

  • I tried it. I started a game of Killzone 2, I did nothing and I died.
  • Well, the British fail, once again. For one, a recent study of gamers shows they were actually in better shape, on average, than their peers. This is a trend not limited to gaming in England. From warrant-less searches, to using closed circuit cameras to watch your every move, the government is following the words of Orwell in becoming a true Big Brother. V for Vendetta doesn't seem too far-fetched, does it?
  • by Coppit ( 2441 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @05:23PM (#27114659) Homepage

    I would have loved them to expand their sedentary lifestyle witch hunt to include beer drinking. Not only does it involve little exercise, you actually consume a narcotic while you're at it. Pubs lead to EARLY DEATH!!!!1!!!!

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:56PM (#27115889)
    One angle that isn't really being discussed here is how a socialized medicine system, as for example the NHS in Britain, provides incentives for the government to spend tax dollars on ad campaigns and other measures against other legitimate businesses in the hopes that it may lower health care costs in the long run. What will be next in Britain? Ads reminding everyone that fast food kills and "don't eat a cheeseburger day"? One of the downsides of government provided or paid for healtchare is increased government involvement in the everyday lifestyle choices of private citizens because the government now has a direct incentive to see that you make the right choices. Better not have that pint in the pub or that cigarrete at the football match, the government is watching you. How about dangerous sports or other "risky" activities, should the government be involved in those too because accidents increase health care costs? Now, in the interest of disclosure I must say that I am an American and don't live in Britain, but are there any Brits out there who are concerned by the increasingly paternalistic nanny surveillance state that Britain is becomming and has become over the past 10 or more years?

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