The average gamer isn't a young person who doesn't get enough sun, researchers now say

Researchers are now reporting the average gamer isn't a pimply-faced teenager, and is more likely to be 35 years old, overweight, and depressed, according to a new report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with help from Andrews University and Emory University researchers, studied 552 adults between the ages of 19 and 90 years old in the Seattle-Tacoma region.  A total of 249 reported they were gamers, with 56 percent of gamers said to be male.

Men who played video games were heavier and used the internet more than other men who reported they aren't gamers.  Furthermore, women gamers are said to have higher levels of depression and are unhealthier than non-gamers, according to researchers.

"Health risk factors differentiated adult video game players from non-players," National Center for Health Marketing researcher James Weaver said in a statement.  "Video game players also reported lower extroversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns."

For depressed gamers, playing video games is a type of "digital self-medication," with women more likely to play video games for extended doses of self-distraction.

"In short, they literally 'take their minds off' their worries while playing a video game," researchers said in their report.

Critics of the report have come forward, citing concerns over the sample size and just one geographic location for the report.  Researchers and others noted however, the size of the sample, if it's random, doesn't matter -- and indicated similar gaming research also reveals similar trends.

Seattle was selected, according to researchers, because of the city's size, diversity, and because it has one of the highest Internet usage rates in the country.  

There has been growing concern among mental health experts about major health concerns related to video games, though research has proven to be rather unhelpful in the past.  China, for example, has had several reported deaths in Internet cafes from gamers who played too long, while other countries are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact of possible video game addiction.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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