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This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed ‘gaming disorder’ in the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in a move which has generated quite a lot of discussion.

WHO defines gaming disorder as ‘…a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.’1

Although WHO states that only a small number of gamers are affected, should we all be looking at our gaming activity?

As a mobile phone gamer, I personally know the allure of ‘just one more level’ and being unaware that that quick game, has actually turned into an hour-long session. Although most gamers aren’t letting gaming take over your lives, relationships, jobs etc…, there are a number of health issues which can occur. An example of this is disturbed sleep, which has been linked to increasing the risk of developing several health conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. (NHS2).

There are also the risks associated with a sedentary life. A recent report by the British Hearth Foundation3 estimated that 39% of UK adults do not meet recommendations for physical activity, again increasing the chance of developing high risk health conditions, such as strokes, and even premature death.

So maybe we all need to look at how much time we spend gaming and evaluate our own personal risks. For me, although I’m not a gaming addict, it’s probably time to put down the phone and dig out the trainers.

Who’s going to join me?

  1. http://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/
  3. https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/statistics/physical-inactivity-report-2017

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