A new study published in the Journal of Internet Medical Research by Professor Kimihiro Hino of the Department of Urban Engineering at the University of Tokyo suggests that there may be health benefits for middle-aged and elderly people who maintain a more active lifestyle thanks to playing Niantic's Pokémon Go smart phone game.
The study (entitled "Step Counts of Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults for 10 Months Before and After the Release of Pokémon GO in Yokohama, Japan") uses data collected from the Yokohama Walking Point Program, a public health initiative created in 2014 to encourage people to exercise by distributing free pedometers and then awarding points and prizes based on the volunteer participants' step counts. The study tracked the activities of two groups: 46 Pokémon Go players (average age: 56.5), and 184 non-players (average age: 57.3).
The results of the study indicate that the Pokémon Go players demonstrated increased step counts for the first 7 months after the release of the game, and that while the non-players' step counts tended to fall off during the winter months, the players' remained active, without losing steps. The results of the study could prove useful to local governments developing health promotion programs for the elderly in the future.
Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.