Study: Gamers Not Fat, But Sad

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A survey of over 7,000 EverQuest II players suggests that online gamers are in better physical condition than the average American, though they are more likely to suffer from depression and substance abuse.

"They may be drawn to use the game to help deal with emotional distress," research team member Scott Caplan explained to New Scientist Tech.

However, UK researcher Mark Griffiths, who was not involved in the study, warns that the results may not be indicative of the entire gaming community, as the research only focused on one massively multiplayer PC game. Online games and single-player games "involve very different psychologies," he cautioned.

Overall, those polled were found to have an average body mass index of 25.2, lower than that of the average American's 28, and were said to partake in "vigorous exercise" once or twice a week, again more than the average American.

Researchers were unsure of the reasons behind these results. They hypothesize that better educated and wealthier people, who often take better care of themselves, are the type that also play computer games.

The survey was conducted across three different institutions: University of Southern California, the Palo Alto Research Center, and the University of Delaware. Players of the Sony Online Entertainment-developed PC MMO were offered a special weapon, the Greatstaff of the Sun Serpent, as incentive for participation.

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