Pokemon Go May Help Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Incidence

Pokémon Go may help reduce burdens of obesity and diabetes.

Diabetes experts believe that the popular mobile phone game Pokémon Go could help reduce the type 2 diabetes burden, and provide an innovative solution to the rise in obesity and chronic diseases.

Since Pokémon Go has come onto the scene, there have been millions of people around the world who have downloaded the game. Pokémon Go requires individuals to walk around in the real world to try and find, catch, and battle the Pokémon on their cellphones.

Leading diabetes researchers believe that this could be a solution to help control the diabetes epidemic. In fact, recent research estimates that 5 million people in England are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, which is largely associated with physical inactivity and obesity.

“If there is something out there which is getting people off the sofa and pounding the streets, then this game could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels,” said Tom Yates, Reader in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior and Health at the University of Leicester. “Walking is hugely underrated yet it is man’s best and the cheapest form of exercise. It’s an easy and accessible way to get active and help maintain a healthy body.”

One regular Pokémon Go player, 45-year-old Tom Booth, found that the app helped him to get out of his house and walk around, despite suffering from acute social anxiety that left him rarely able to leave his house.

“I originally thought it was just for kids, but I downloaded it to see what all the fuss was about and for the first time in years I’ve left the house and walked miles just by following what’s going on in the game,” Booth said in a press release. “When I get home, I’m exhausted but it’s actually been great getting out and about and exercising without even realizing that I’m doing it.”

Obesity accounts for 80% to 85% of the overall risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Department of Health recommends that adults should aim to be active every day and that over a week.

Activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise in bouts of 10 minutes or more. In a study last year by the Leicester Diabetes Centre, the findings showed the importance of incorporating breaks into prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyles.

Women were found to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes through regularly standing or walking around.

The findings, published in Diabetes Care, suggested that regularly breaking up long periods of prolong sitting with 5 minutes of light movement every 30 minutes significantly reduced insulin levels and blood sugar.