- Preliminary research by a Harvard Medical School clinical informatics fellow seems to indicate that getting caught up in the new online craze Pokémon Go could boost a person's health, Fierce Healthcare reports.
- The study showed that, on average, Pokémon Go players added 1,000 step counts daily.
- Researcher John Torous looked at data from Achievemint, a data aggregation and rewards platform for fitness app users, and compared the results of members who played Pokémon Go and those who did not. He also compared Pokémon Go players’ step counts 30 days prior to and after starting to play the game.
People with a body mass index over 30 increased their step counts twice as fast as those with lower BMIs, the study shows. But that surge was only maintained for the first two weeks that the person played the game.
In a blog post, Achievemint product lead Leslie Oley called the findings “the best glimpse of data to date” on the impact of augmented reality on personal health habits.
An editorial in Games for Health Journal called for more “well-conceived and rigorously designed studies” on Pokémon Go’s potential health effects, as noted by Fierce Healthcare.
“It is clear from the release of Pokémon Go and ensuring episode of game play that, despite conventional wisdom, substantial numbers of people (even some couch potatoes?) were willing to be physically active (i.e., substantial walking) for long periods of time(some newspaper stories reported some players were chasing Pokémon for hours at a time),” writes Tom Baranowski, Baylor College of Medicine department of pediatrics and the journal’s editor-in-chief. “What could we possibly learn from this?”