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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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  • 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.

  • by nicobigsby ( 1418849 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @03:12AM (#27110497)
    I don't know about the UK but in the US studies show the average American spends six hours per day watching television, this is 42 hrs per week. The average amount of time gamers spend gaming (this was a targeted poll of the gaming community, and did not factor in those that do not play games.) said that the average gamer spends 25 hrs per week playing video games, sounds like the real killer is television, not that the media would ever want us to know that.
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @04:31AM (#27110721)

    Not with the kindle 2.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:07AM (#27111245) Homepage

    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.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Sunday March 08, 2009 @07:09AM (#27111253) Journal

    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 any deodorant so as far as a healthy diet goes I can't see many gamers making that much effort if a few sprays of a can is too much effort. Take-away, fast food and frozen food ain't good and if you can't get past 'no processed food's' rule and no fizzy sugary drinks in your diet, you have a looonngg way to go before your diet is healthy enough to just sit around and play games.

    Frankly it's bullshit to expect that just diet will make you healthy. Diet alone is only a factor when you are *already* a high performance athlete and need to get closer to that edge. Exercise is the *only* way to condition your body for health. On top of that you have to do exercise during certain times of your life to expect to ward of certain diseases later on in life. Osteoporosis is a prime example. Ideally a person should be physically active during their teens [] to allow bone mineral density to increase enough to ward this disease off. Then there is conditioning the heart and lungs which helps improve the bloods oxygen uptake ability. That's good for the brain and thinking clearly. Don't get me wrong, diet is important but you simply can't get that from just diet.

    Besides exercising gives you the advantage of being able to eat just about what ever you want to *and* play video games ;-) Go get a skateboard or something you like to do that's physical and later, when you are chilling out, play games.

    Games should be the icing on your life, not your life.

  • 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.

  • Re:genetics. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 08, 2009 @12:53PM (#27113059)

    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.

    For reference, a fat slob getting sweaty on the way to the fridge isn't generally considered "exercise" to normal people. Unless you are capable of violating the laws of thermodynamics, repeat after me:

    You can not gain weight* unless your caloric intake is higher than your caloric output. It is physically impossible. Stomach growling? Chew gum. Drink a glass of water and eat some lettuce. Better yet, go for a walk to the nearest dog run and play with other people's pets.

    *We're not counting drinking a gallon of water, swallowing rocks and nickels, etc

  • 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?
  • Re:Fine, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drew ( 2081 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @05:22AM (#27118989) Homepage

    "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 wife and I lived in the city, we often laughed at the fact that we walked farther to get on the train (less than a half mile, so not even that far) than her mom drove to work every day. Since we've moved to a more suburban area we've found that our typical daily activity has dropped a fair amount from what it used to be even without any significant change of lifestyle.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken