Source: Asbury Park Press
There’s a video game app that requires kids to get off the couch — the new Pokémon Go game.
The game, which runs on a free phone app, was released in early July. It has kids running, biking – even full-on running. Equally heartwarming, I actually see kids and teens talking and laughing live and in-person, not by text or Snapchat.
“I think it’s an ingenious app. Rather than sitting in front of the TV, my boys are walking, biking around and just keeping busy this summer,” says Dina DeGrande-Fancher of Jackson.
“This app is like a real-life adventure,” says 16-year-old Matt Caceres of Morganville. “You have to jump in the pool after you play because you can definitely work up a sweat.”
The premise of the game requires users to walk around (outside!) searching for fictional creatures (Pokémon). Players also can acquire “eggs” from Poké Gyms and Poké Stops that only open if the player walks, runs or bikes a certain distance. The longer the distance, the rarer the Pokémon, which entices users to meet the challenge. The distances for each egg ranges from 1.25 to 6.25 miles.
The fact that the premise of this game requires the player to walk, bike, run and — and potentially even socialize in the process! — is nothing short of brilliant. The health benefits may well extend beyond weight management and obesity prevention as well. The mental distraction could help people battling chronic pain or even depression.
If any country needs this craze, it’s the U.S.! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent (12.7 million) children and teens ages 2 to 19 and 37.9 percent of adults age 20 and older are obese.
And it’s not just a game for kids. For teens and millennials who grew up playing the original video game or collected the playing cards, Pokémon Go is a childhood dream come true.
At a time when the world seems to be so full of worry, Pokémon Go is a healthy and welcome distraction for all of us. Is it perfect? Of course not. Do the benefits outweigh the caveats? From this doctor’s perspective, without question. Why didn’t some millennial think of this before?
By Dr. Seun Sowemimo, a general surgeon specializing in treatment of obesity. He is the Medical Director at Prime Surgicare and Co-Medical Director of Central Jersey Bariatrics, located in Freehold. To learn more, visit PrimeSurgicare.com or call 732-982-2002.