Journal scan

Pokémon gets children back on their feet

Latest app craze is seeing increased levels of youngsters exercising more.

Hunting Jigglypuffs and pursuing Pikachus is encouraging youngsters to exercise.

Searching for Pokémon
On the hunt for Pokémon. Photo: Alamy

The Pokémon Go craze is getting youngsters back on their feet, and that’s to be welcomed, writes GP Dr Margaret McCartney in the BMJ.

She has been out and about in Glasgow with her children, spotting Swellows, finding Flygons and locating Lunatones – a process which, she says, has turned streets into ‘a reclaimed playground in which to have interconnected fun’.

While scientific evidence of the app being beneficial has yet to be published, the fact that young players are getting out and about is welcome. ‘Increased physical activity is a tantalising side effect,’ she writes, despite Pokémon Go not being marketed as a health app, and players having no particular motivation to get fit.

She reports that social commentators have linked the game to counteracting depression, solving the obesity epidemic (one UK player apparently walked 225km and lost 2 stone) and easing the type 2 diabetes burden.

‘But over in the bad-for-you camp are anecdotes of Pokémon hunters being rescued by emergency services from the sea and being robbed of their phones at gunpoint in the United States.’

Dr McCartney concludes: ‘The possibilities for apps to make the streets an active, reclaimed playground in which to have interconnected fun are boundless,’ she concludes. ‘Game on!’


McCartney M (2016) Observations: Game on for Pokémon Go. BMJ. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4306

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