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UK Government Ads Link Games With "Early Death"

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the maybe-if-you-try-to-eat-them dept.

Government 232

An anonymous reader writes "The UK government, backed by a bunch of charities that raise funds for research into cancer, heart disease and diabetes, has launched an advertising campaign that links the 'inactive' or passive gaming lifestyle with death and illness. It's part of a bigger 'Change4Life' campaign that has also linked playing games with making children obese. The new ads show a young child playing a PlayStation game, with the caption 'Risk an early DEATH, just do nothing.' To say this has annoyed the UK games industry would be a grave understatement. Trade association ELSPA has already called an urgent meeting with authorities to have the ads pulled, and trade magazine MCV has complained to the country's Advertising Standards Authority as well. As MCV Associate Editor Tim Ingham says in an impassioned opinion piece, 'Change4Life's advertising campaign makes a mockery of everything the industry has achieved in the last decade.'"

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c'mon, too easy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110401)

early post

Re:c'mon, too easy (5, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110417)

Your first post may be your last if you play vgs.

Re:c'mon, too easy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110701)

Linux is trolled hard on encyclopediadramatica, as in professionally trolled.

Fine, but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110413)

A sedentary lifestyle can be linked to obesity, which in turn *can* be linked to death and illness. The summary is a little too... angry....

Still, it's partially correct. Instead of arguing that "GAMES ARE BAD AAAWR", the advert could have simply advocated a balanced lifestyle. There's nothing inherently bad about gaming, so long as you remember to exercise. Indeed, some games and game systems (Wii?) can even *encourage* exercise.

Re:Fine, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110461)

There's nothing inherently bad about gaming, so long as you remember to exercise.

But most Americans are a bunch of fatasses so they won't do that.

Re:Fine, but... (3, Insightful)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110833)

There's nothing inherently bad about gaming, so long as you remember to exercise. But most Americans are a bunch of fatasses so they won't do that.

Troll, but true: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/ [cdc.gov]

Re:Fine, but... (3, Insightful)

theeddie55 (982783) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110909)

True, but I can't see a British advertising campaign affecting most Americans.
Not that Britain isn't heading the same way at an alarming rate.

Re:Fine, but... (1, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110483)

There are already camps in Amsterdam [gamespot.com] and China [chinadaily.net] addressing that concern. In fact, the China program is held in a Beijing military building!

Internet addiction disorder [wikipedia.org] is trying to fight its way into the DSM IV.

In other words, if a few fatasses died in their parents' basements because they ate delivered pizza 24 hours a day and never moved their body except for their mouse wrists then they will ruin it for everybody and the sociologists in charge of the DSM IV make IAD a bona-fide disorder. More money for drug companies that way.

Ethanol-fueled. p.s. anybody who mods me down is a bitch.

Re:Fine, but... (4, Funny)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110699)

anyone else read "Change4Life" and immediately want to play Left4Dead?

Re:Fine, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110957)

Didn't South Park teach us anything?

Books are just as bad (5, Insightful)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110621)

Indeed, singling out games like the ad does only risks getting the wrong message across ("games are bad" instead of "a sedentary lifestyle is bad"). They should balance it out by making an ad showing a girl reading a book under the same "Risk an early DEATH, just do nothing" caption.

Re:Books are just as bad (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110649)

They should balance it out by making an ad showing a girl reading a book under the same "Risk an early DEATH, just do nothing" caption.

yes, but eventually she would have to get up to get a new book :)

Re:Books are just as bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110721)

Not with the kindle 2.

Re:Books are just as bad (4, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110809)

They don't single games out in the ads, there's a whole series of them. Most of the ones I've seen focus on what to do [dh.gov.uk] as opposed to what not to do.

I'd be surprised if they didn't have others showing watching TV and using a computer. They're probably not going to attack reading any time soon though, given the amount of money they've spent trying to persuade kids to read at all, and excessive reading is not noticeably a problem in UK youth.

Re:Fine, but... (2, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110677)

I'd probably go so far as to say that gaming is about a hundred times better for you, physically and mentally, than watching TV. TV doesn't seem to engage my mind, or get my heart rate up - watching TV is just something I do when I need a change of screenery.

Re:Fine, but... (3, Informative)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110795)

Yes, you're probably right:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7621412.stm [bbc.co.uk]
Not that factual evidence has ever mattered for government policy.

Diet is much more important (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110693)

Diet is a much more reliable indicator of obesity. Yes, going outside and climbing trees or whatever it is that kids do these days will help burn fat, but burning fat away is notoriously slow compared to gaining weight, and unreliable at that because exercise tends to increase the munch instinct. And statistically, according to an employee my insurance agency, the years you'll live longer will be outweighed by the amount of exercise you do. At a factor of three or so. So you'll have to make sure that whatever exercise it is you're doing is a lot of fun. And too much exercise has been linked with neurological and joint issues. So if you don't like exercising, don't do it, íf your diet is varied and healthy you'll burn up any excess energy just running about the house, cycling to school, the supermarket, friends and such. Maybe you won't maximize your lifespan, but I think you will come a lot closer to maximising total happiness which at least to me is a much more pressing concern. And if you're really worried about your kids not getting enough exercise, maybe they'll like DDR or Wii Fit. Or you could, you know, take them to the woods on a Saturday and have some family time together. Just a thought.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

shoemilk (1008173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110739)

An AC said it, but let me reiterate exercise don't make skinny [livescience.com] , diet is way more important. If they want to make posters about fat dead people, they need to make ads against candy, chips, and fast food.

This ad campaign is either video game bashing or just wrong.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110825)

Most of the posters are about getting people to eat vegetables, as well as do some exercise from time to time. See some here [wikipedia.org] .

And the adverts are about being healthy, not skinny. Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle.

Re:Fine, but... (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110829)

Whoops, wrong link. Here [dh.gov.uk] .

Re:Fine, but... (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111013)

Like there wasn't any fat and lazy kids before the invention of the Playstation? C'mon, fat and lazy has been around forever and if they wanted to do something about fat and lazy why are they not saying anything about the boob tube? There are a hell of a lot more fat and lazy(not to mention stupid) people who do nothing but stare at the idiot box. They never read, never stimulate their mind OR their body, just stare at that damned box. If they want to target fat and lazy imho THAT would be the place to start. But then again a population that actually read and thought would be seen as bad to the new nanny governments of the world.

Not if you choose the correct games (4, Informative)

crazybit (918023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110415)

Nowadays kids have fun playing games like Wii-Sports. With the new generation of controllers, games that require physical activity to be controlled will start to appear.

Get them some of those games and let them invite their friends to play. They will sweat their asses trying to beat each other. Also never forget to promote real sports too (even if you have to drag them to the playground).

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110453)

The only problem is that the level of activity needed to improve health is actually very high. Walking for an hour or three won't help at all. Riding a bike at 25km/h won't help. Swinging a wiimote definitely won't help.

To improve your health long term you need to get out and exercise hard for at least an hour a day. That means going for a run, or cycling above 30km/h.

Its not really games. Pretty much everything we do for leisure or to save manual effort reduces our life span.

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110537)

Citations or your qualifications? My Doctor tells me that an hour every other day or so *will* help.

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (2, Informative)

SocratesJedi (986460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110541)

Better to just cite the CDC guidelines for adults:

(150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activities OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity) + muscle strengthening 2 days / week

See http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html [cdc.gov]

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110543)

To improve your health long term you need to get out and exercise hard for at least an hour a day. That means going for a run, or cycling above 30km/h.

Citation please? Most advice I have read suggests that half an hour of mild exercise a day is enough to maintain a healthy body:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/fitness/daily_howmuch.shtml

"Adults should do a minimum of 30 minutes moderate-intensity physical activity, five days a week."

and

"The activity can be a 'lifestyle activity' (in other words, walking to the shops or taking the dog out) or structured exercise or sport, or a combination of these. But it does need to be of at least moderate intensity." ...have you ever tried to cycle at 35kmh for any length of time?

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (4, Informative)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110565)

The only problem is that the level of activity needed to improve health is actually very high. Walking for an hour or three won't help at all. Riding a bike at 25km/h won't help. Swinging a wiimote definitely won't help. To improve your health long term you need to get out and exercise hard for at least an hour a day. That means going for a run, or cycling above 30km/h.

This is not true. Even walking briskly for 20 minutes each day improves your health dramatically. As long as you get your pulse up for a few minutes daily, it helps. A test is to check whether you can comfortably hum or whistle while you exercise. If you can, walk faster/swing that mote more/bike faster.

Of course, if you want big flashy muscles, 20 minutes walking isn't going to cut it, but that is another matter.

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110713)

Kids (and this ad is aimed at parents of inactive kids) should be a *lot* more active than just twenty minutes a day. I don't see why the cancer troupe is in there but this advert is also co-sponsored by the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK [diabetes.org.uk] , charities that deal with diseases that are brought on by obesity (80% link between obesity and diabetics I believe), and childhood obesity.

Maybe the charities own page [diabetes.org.uk] may help clarify and balance the summary in the vitriolic summary:

Why so hard hitting?

Some of the messages may be hard hitting but market research told us we had to be.

The campaign was developed using focus groups made up of mums from our target audience.

What these groups showed us was that the messages had to be direct enough to make them take notice and think Could this be me and my kids?.

This isn't aimed at slashdotters and gamers aware enough to get their own exercise, or make their children so, and the choice of marketing reflcts that. I imagine the Venn diagram of Heat Magazine and Slashdot being quite small.

Re:Not if you choose the correct games (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111121)

Kids (and this ad is aimed at parents of inactive kids) should be a *lot* more active than just twenty minutes a day.

As should everyone else. But given it is an imperfect world, it is still important to tell that 20 minutes a day helps a lot. Other than that, yes, children should be running around playing outside quite a lot. Unfortunately, in a lot of places parents don't dare put the children outside without supervision.

~*fartz*~ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110425)

gamers are fat lazy disgusting children

Let's play the statistics game. (5, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110427)

I woke up this morning and brushed my teeth. Simultaneously, three people were killed in an auto accident five miles from my house.

I'm sure the police will be here any time now...

Re:Let's play the statistics game. (2, Funny)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110523)

That's like right as the Andrea Doria collided with the Stockholm (from memory), a lady flicked on a light switch. She ran up on deck in panic, convinced that she had caused the problem.

Correlation: oblig. xkcd (1)

lelkes (884952) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110887)

Re:Let's play the statistics game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110895)

As I learned today, Correlation does not imply Causation [xkcd.com] ..

Statistics (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110443)

I am sure a large portion of obese people have played video games. I am sure a large portion of people with cancer, heart disease and diabetes have played video games. I am sure a lot of people who have died have played video games. Therefore the reason for obesity, illness and death *must* be video games, right? Or [venganza.org] not [xkcd.com] .

Re:Statistics (2, Funny)

nicobigsby (1418849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110501)

This is exactly like cake. I've been saying it for years. Everybody who eats cake dies. Cake must be stopped before everybody dies.

Re:Statistics (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110633)


No, no, no... I thought it was Cake OR Death [youtube.com] !

Govermnent at it's finest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110465)

I wonder what kind of world we would live in if people in power didn't tell us how to live our lives. I for one welcome our anti-communist, anti-gay, anti-video games, anti-war, anti-god, pro-god, pro-war, anti-drug, pro-school, pro-prison, pro-nationalism, pro-globalism overlords.

So did I miss something? (1, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110467)

Last I checked, video games weren't exactly a great way to exercise (no, not even Wii Fit... I own it, I know), and inadequate exercise is still considered to be a risk factor for obesity, which is in turn a a major risk factor in a huge number of potentially deadly conditions and preconditions. I love videogames, and I'm not about to cut back my playing in order to exercise more, but I simply can't in good conscience argue that it wouldn't be a good idea (and I'm not even at risk for obesity... my BMI is actually below the average range). I would even say that it is absolutely valid for a public health agency to advocate substituting physical activities for video games, board games, reading, and other non-physical activites for purely health related reasons.

I'm not sure what the game publishers are actually protesting here, because this sounds like a pretty clear cut issue to me.

Re:So did I miss something? (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110481)

obesity, which is in turn a a major risk factor in a huge number of potentially deadly conditions and preconditions.

Its not a risk for me. Its a certainty. When I was seven years old my grandfather died at the age of 58 from a heart attack. My dad told me at the time what did it and how he planned to avoid it. When I dad was 63 he had a heart attack, and survived because his partner was on the ball and got him to hospital. So knowing what was on the way gained him five years. So here I am, aged 43. I'm not going to let this happen. Am I? Realistically I might be able to delay it another five years.

Re:So did I miss something? (3, Interesting)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110499)

I'm not sure what the game publishers are actually protesting here, because this sounds like a pretty clear cut issue to me.

I believe the problem is that the ad tries to make a direct causal relationship between playing video games and death. And as one of the tags states, correlation is not equal to causation.

I would even say that it is absolutely valid for a public health agency to advocate substituting physical activities for video games, board games, reading, and other non-physical activites for purely health related reasons.

The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

Re:So did I miss something? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110563)

... you will die if you play video games.

Really? you will die if you play video games?

Somehow I suspect that's true...

Re:So did I miss something? (1)

rishistar (662278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110793)

I would even say that it is absolutely valid for a public health agency to advocate substituting physical activities for video games, board games, reading, and other non-physical activites for purely health related reasons.

The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

They actually do do this: The problem is the summarizer in the original column saw the picture of the kid with a controller and jumped straight to the scare tactic of saying the government says you will die if you play video games. What the campaign is actually attacking is the sedentary lifestyle that some parents let their children lead these days. These were a series of magazine ads placed in mags to reach the extreme end of their target market [diabetes.org.uk] - there is also a much more positive get your kids active for 60 minutes [www.nhs.uk] as part of this campaign. I don't have a problem with this.

Re:So did I miss something? (2, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110849)

The problem is that they didn't do this. They just jump straight to the scare tactic of saying you will die if you play video games.

No they didn't. This campaign has been running since the new year, and they started with telling you how to modify your lifestyle in a positive way. They used no scare tactics, favouring a utopian vision. I'm guessing this resort to [www.nhs.uk] standard NHS tactics [dailymail.co.uk] * means it didn't work.

Besides, I think we have to face the truth here. Gaming to the exclusion of exercise is unhealthy, this campaign has a reasonable point. Denying this makes Slashdotters look like oil executives denying global warming by straw-manning the opposition.

"Oh, so the advert campaign is saying that if you play games you'll certainly die right away! How stupid!" +5 Insightful.

The point of the campaign is that a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to your health, which is true! The self-deluded rage expressed in the summary is moronic.

*I wish it didn't have to be the Daily Mail, but they had the best example.

Re:So did I miss something? (3, Informative)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110657)

You have just touched my argument against what they have done. They are aiming directly at video games and while they can contribute to inactive lifestyles, so can a lot of things that most people PROMOTE. What about board games (which you mentioned), reading, building model cars, playing cards, or god forbid, STUDYING!

The truth is that EVERYTHING we do can contribute to our death if we do too much of it. Play too many video games and you can become obese, build to many model cars and you can inhale paint fumes, exercise to hard and you can have a debilitating injuring, study too much and you can become a recluse (causing obesity), wash your hands too often and you can lower your immune system.

People need to stop freaking out about every little thing they do and just realise that moderation is everything. Everything can kill you, but few things will do so in moderation.

Bullocks. (5, Funny)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110469)

I've been playing video games all my life and I'm as healt

causation is not correlation (0)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110471)

Really? Lazy people that don't go out and play games EXCESSIVELY tend to turn fat or wither. And i'm sure the effects of high BMI or no muscle mass can be proven to decrease life expectancy.

That said I think the ad campaign is offensive but probably not to the degree many people on /. probably do. It is over the top and exaggerating but its not complete lies. Sort of like smoking kills. The cigarettes aren't sticks of dynamite, they are deadly and so forth but the ads seem excessive at times. Though I guess cigarettes even in moderation are terrible for you while a weekend of gaming wont have any lasting effects... Anyways...

ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.

Re:causation is not correlation (1)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110493)

And people that breath air tend to die. Not immediately but eventually.

Re:causation is not correlation (2, Funny)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110579)

ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.

I take things in moderation in moderation.

Does that count?

ya but no but ya (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110495)

Ya um I know this guy who ran all the time and died. So, um ya, running shoes causes people to die.

Oh ya, and, I know this b***h that yells all the time and when she yelled once, she died. So being a b***h all the time causes people to die.

An' my bro' -- he's always playin' games all the time and pokin' me and yellin' at his friends and vids all the time, and he aint dead. So, this is sh*t! When's he goin' to die?

Games? What about television? (1, Interesting)

nicobigsby (1418849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110497)

I don't know about the UK but in the US studies show the average American spends six hours per day watching television, this is 42 hrs per week. The average amount of time gamers spend gaming (this was a targeted poll of the gaming community, and did not factor in those that do not play games.) said that the average gamer spends 25 hrs per week playing video games, sounds like the real killer is television, not that the media would ever want us to know that.

Re:Games? What about television? (1)

bongomanaic (755112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110843)

In the UK the amount of TV watched by children has fallen to an average of 2.7 hours per day (much of which is non-commercial), and time spent on computers and consoles has risen to 2.8 hours per day. If you want to remind parents that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with future poor health for their children then it makes sense to focus on those sedentary activities that are increasing in popularity rather than those that are already in decline.

Re:Games? What about television? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111103)

Yes, they should have an ad campaign against television, as well . . . and run it on television, of course:

TURN OFF THIS TELEVISION! NOW!

Not fair (2, Insightful)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110509)

They're making a bold statement here:

"Playing Videogames produces sedentarism which in turn produces illness"

It's not the videogames that make a people sedentary. It's the other way around: sedentary people like to play videogames.

If videogames didn't exist, those people would just watch tv and still wither and die.

Re:Not fair (1)

Saysys (976276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110893)

This presumes that there gaming has NO moderating effect on the amount of time one spends sedentary. For some people I have no doubt that you are correct, they would simply do something else sedentary, for others well...

I submit to you the case of World of Warcraft.

I find that abuse of a video game is along the same lines as abuse of marijuana. It is slightly emotionally addictive, makes you feel good, reduces your intrinsic desire to "make something more" of yourself, placates you and two years later when you quit it you look back and wonder "where did those years of my life go? what was the point of it all"

But just because some people will abuse something doesn't mean that we need to ban, or even tell people not to use, the product. But education on the value of moderation and a balanced healthy lifestyle is always called for.

Re:Not fair (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110935)

It's not the videogames that make a people sedentary. It's the other way around: sedentary people like to play videogames.

And you accuse the advert of making a bold statement...

I know numerous members of the military, manual workers and exercise nuts who are massive gaming fans. I would be surprised if anyone who found evidence that predisposition towards physical activity affects peoples enjoyment of gaming. I expect it is more likely is that there might be some link between 'lazyness' and excessive gaming, which is perhaps more what you were trying to imply?

I've got a bone to pick with them over this (5, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110511)

So they're condemning kids sitting around indoors playing video games all the time instead of going outside, running around, and being kids. Fine, I can deal with that. What I can't deal with, is that the UK government has become such a nanny-state that they keep preventing and even outlawing all sorts of activities "because someone might get hurt". So I ask you all: What the fuck are the kids supposed to do??!?
MEMO TO UK GOVERNMENT: Make up your damned minds, do you want kids to go out and play or DON'T YOU??!?

Re:I've got a bone to pick with them over this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110839)

Spot on. I live in the US and it has become a dystopia. Life is becoming more and more stressful as literally every aspect of our lives is being monitored 'in case' we do wrong. And 'wrong' is being constantly re-defined. Oh, and the punishment is always on the spot fines. It's for profit law. The Brits need to revolt, but they won't, they are too timid and historically blind to their fate.

Re:I've got a bone to pick with them over this (2, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110859)

The other problem is for teenagers. Of course they loiter around threateningly, there's nothing for them to do in the average UK town centre now.

Re:I've got a bone to pick with them over this (4, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111035)

DAMN STRAIGHT! Here in the People's Republik of Kalifornia, even dodgeball, tag, and football (unless its flag only) is either discouraged or no longer allowed because someone might get hurt.

The US has become a nanny-state just like the UK, with the blessings of the asshats in Berkeley who have their heads so far up their own asses they look like doughnuts.

They have this bizarre idea of turning this world into an idealistic utopia and preach freedoms, while restricting everything under the sun as "dangerous" or "hazardous". What we need is a television ad that tells these straight-jacket loving nutjobs that LIFE IS HAZARDOUS! EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS!

I had all sorts of dangerous toys and other things when I was growing up (still am growing up!):

Magnetrons (radiation hazard)
Lincoln Logs (now a choking hazard)
Legos (chocking hazard)
Steam Engines (the kinds that ran on Hexamine tablets) (fire/injury risk)
Electric Trains (electrocution hazard)
Chemistry Sets (toxic chemical/explosion hazard)
Guns (explosion/injury/death risk)
Firecrackers (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
Fishing Tackle (sharp object / toxic lead risk)
Erector Sets (choking/injury hazard)
ATV's (fire/injury/death risk)
A Truck (fire/injury/death risk)
Potato Cannons (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
Power Tools (fire/injury/death risk)
Model Rockets (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
Thermite (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
A Kerosene Blowtorch (fire/explosion/injury/death risk)
Tool Set (choking/injury hazard)
Home-Made Bazooka (fire/explosion/injury/death hazard)
Pneumatic Cannon (explosion/injury/death risk)
Power Transformers (electrocution hazard)
Smokeless Powder (explosion hazard)
Gopher "gassers" (fire/injury/death/chemical hazard)
Arc Welders / Acetylene Torches .....and the list goes on.....

Nothing bad ever happened. If I got hurt, I learned my lesson and didn't repeat what I did.

There is a country song, the name of which I can't remember, that laments the uber-sanitary/safety of everything nowadays. Drinking from a garden hose? Might get toxic chemicals from the rubber. Playing in the dirt? Might get germs. Working around farm animals? Might get anthrax, salmonella or E. Coli. Forget to wash that carrot or radish you just pulled out of the ground? Bad idea, because you might get anthrax, or E. Coli from the dirt.

Funny, the same people who think up all this shit are the same people who think smoking pot is safe too.....

Someone ought to put up a public Heath & Safety warning about listening to over-protective idiots..... .....AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE DAMNED "BANNED BOOK LIST"!

Cliché (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110527)

At least they're not blaming cigarettes. Clichés grow old fast. Too bad these anti- organizations don't base their propaganda on honesty, science or logic.

genetics. (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110539)

genetics is the biggest factor in being a fatass and dieing early. i'm in that group of people that has "survival genes", i can exercise every day of the week till i'm lathered in sweat and i'll only maintain my weight, and when i take a week off i pile on a kg, even though i'm not a big eater.

My father is the same, so i figure this is just how it goes and i'll have to watch my weight all my life.

as far as telling kids to get off their ass and doing something, never has a better message been sent. i hope they stick to their guns.

Re:genetics. (3, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110901)

Sorry about this but I'm going to be blunt: you're likely fooling yourself.

Genetics may well be a factor and probably is, but as far as I can tell it's not the overriding one. I'm speaking from personal experience here - last summer I reached 16st 1 (225lbs) and decided Something Must Be Done(tm). I also put on weight pretty easily, so my I decided my metabolism wasn't going to help me out here and resigned myself to be fat for all time. Still, I didn't need to be quite that fat so decided to try losing a few lbs.

I started small - a half-hour on Wii Fit jogging every night, plus a change of diet. After a while a friend asked if I wanted to try for a 10km run, so I started training to do that with him. One night's real running, one night's Wii-Fit running - on and off. I also started using the stairs at work - all 17 floors of them, two flights between each floor, average of around 11 steps per flight. Pretty soon weight was coming off quite fast, and the thing is - the more came off, the better my metabolism become at shedding more of it. I was really proud the day I ran 10km for the first time: in a time I'd now consider disastrously slow. My time then was 1hr 15min - by co-incidence I've just come in from my morning 10km run and did 42mins, still not lightening but not terrible either. That's a short run today too since I'm busy, I normally I'd do a half-marathon every Sunday morning and I'm booked in for my first marathon at the end of May.

I realise that sounds boastful but this is Slashdot - I fully expect that in the thousands out there reading, somebody somewhere can utterly trounce every achievement I've just mentioned and looks at that level of activity as being weak. No, the reason I'm saying my activity levels these days is to contrast with what was happening when I just came home and sat at the computer, or the console, and barely moved all the while eating take-outs or relatively poor quality food. By Christmas I'd got down to 11t 9 (155 lbs). I've kept at that weight since - never lower, but never much higher either. The key here is that as I got more fit, what I'd put down to genetics about me losing weight turned out actually to be just a side effect of the fact I was already overweight. The fitter I became, the better my ability to stay that way.

It's something I'd seriously recommend to people - it's not just the weight loss though that's very welcome of course, it has an effect on everything. I'm happier, my mind is sharper, I don't feel so tired all the time, I now find I prefer healthier food to the junk so choosing the healthy option isn't a chore...just a better life all round. I'm no monk either - I cut down on drinking, but I still go out and have a few pints or Black Russians (or both, on a particularly good night...) and yes, the odd pizza is still known to be consumed. The difference is that I know how much work, in a literal physical measurement sense of burning energy, I'm going to have to do to get rid of it so I never allow nights like that to just pile up an up which is what I used to do.

To bring this all back into context with the parent post and the article: the parent's comment on genetics is likely to be misleading because your ability to metabolise improves the fitter you become. The article is going off on a rant about for once a perfectly reasonable statement from the UK government (and I'm British): a sedantery lifestyle for kids or indeed anyone else is going to be less healthy than an active one, and gaming is associated with a sedantery lifestyle. Yes, even Wii Sports and Wii Fit - I startd out with these and they helped a lot, but they're not a substitute for the real thing. I have three kids and I make absolutely sure they do a lot of running around and playing outside, bu I also encourage them to use the Wii and their DS's too. If I deprived them of some modern entertainment like gaming then I'd be being unreasonable, but if I allowed them to settle into doing nothing but then I'd also be being a bad parent - it's that circumstance that the government is pointing out.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:genetics. (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111117)

Hmm. Nice story.

I'm in your boat right now. Im a 6'5", ~300 lbs and not liking it. Of course, my height hides a lot more so I can 'get away with it'.

Re:genetics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110925)

Does he also have as poor a command of English as you, or did you get that from your mother?

What's "passive" gaming? (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110549)

I've always thought that unless you are a person who always just watches someone else play (hmm, maybe Korea has lots of these with their televised Starcraft tournaments), you are ACTIVELY participating. Broadcast TV = passive couch potato, gaming = Active.

This just came to mind when way back in the early 90's there was big hype about "interactive TV" and how viewers could soon decide what happens on the screen (well, in the end it boiled down to being able to vote people off the island), and us gamer-nerds were like "Bah, we have participated in deciding what happens on the screen for last 10 years...". Especially when you had stuff like Ultima-series to show for it.

Re:What's "passive" gaming? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110613)

gaming = Active.

What? Sorry, that is a bit TOO much of a stretch for me. Gaming is not remotely an active lifestyle. To be active, you need to be doing a cardiovascular activity, and Halo 3 is NOT an example. If an activity involves your ass being in contact with a couch, bean-bag, chair, etc. it cannot qualify as a physical activity that promotes good health.

The only example might possibly be certain games on the Wii, where physical activity is required. You did not provide that as an example, and I would still classify that as a light aerobic activity.

Re:What's "passive" gaming? (1)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110731)

I meant keeping your brain stimulated kind of activity. When I visit my grandpa at old folks home, the ones that are most alert and talkative, are also the ones who keep setting up a poker table, play Sudoku, etc. The zombies are the ones watching TV, you can get barely a word out of them.

Re:What's "passive" gaming? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110807)

If an activity involves your ass being in contact with a couch, bean-bag, chair, etc. it cannot qualify as a physical activity that promotes good health.

So much for my wheelchair racing activities, and have you ever tried to get OUT of a bean-bag chair?!? That's like 10 minutes of exercise every time to use the washroom or get snack!

Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110561)

As the saying goes "There are Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics."

Who really cares about a "long life" (1)

Cap'n Crax (313292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110583)

A long life spent having no fun is no life at all.

Re:Who really cares about a "long life" (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110735)

Alright, but some of us prefer a long life spent having a lot of fun. It's not an either/or choice.

Re:Who really cares about a "long life" (1)

Cap'n Crax (313292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110879)

Good point. But I was trying to be brief and not write a dissertation.

What I mean is that what many people find "fun" can shorten your life. Whether it's bungee-jumping, car racing, skydiving, playing video games!, watching the telly from the couch, etc., ad infinitum all have certain risks.

I'd imagine that bungee-jumping is FAR riskier than playing video games. If that bungee breaks, it's all over. Some people like to play video games. Some people like to bungee-jump. It's all a personal matter, and a matter of an individual personally managing risk. The government has no business in deciding here.

Re:Who really cares about a "long life" (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111097)

---The government has no business in deciding here.

Yes, they do.

You pay the government to provide governmental health insurance. Because of that, they now have fiduciary responsibility in your health and what you do and not do. They then get further in your life because it's "their money" so they have to show a modicum of responsibility. Then they'll start banning certain foods and actions because their data said it was too risky.

That's why we Americans are so iffy about any sort of governmental health plans. We know how crooked the government is, and find it hard to trust them with any more power.

politicians (4, Funny)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110587)

If computer gaming is dangerous, just imagine how dangerous the life of a politician must be: sitting around all day in meetings, eating bad food, often smoking, etc.

I think we need to outlaw politics and throw into jail anybody who tries to spread it.

Re:politicians (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110813)

Where is the +1 genius mode?

Re:politicians (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110967)

I'd vote for that law, and vote for any representative who would support it.

Causationisnotcorrelation Tags Must Die (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110589)

These "causationisnotcorrelation" tags are flat-out the dumbest part of Slashdot these days.

Take this particular news story: There are no specific claims of any sort that I can see in any of the article links on either side. There aren't any specific correlations being asserted or presented between anything and anything else that I can tell, just a bunch of bitching on both sides. The "correlationisnotcausation" whine-fest is completely beside the point, like a mass hallucination.

For future reference, first you must have (a) Specific characteristics being discussed. Then (b) Claims of correlations between them. Then (c) Specifically referenced research that backs up those correlation claims. Only then is it any use to start arguing about "correlationisnotcausation" (and usually not even then).

The "correlationisnotcausation" tagging is just plain vandalism. I don't think the taggers involved even read the summaries anymore, they just tag everything in sight "correlationisnotcausation", like they're autistic graffiti artists.

Re:Causationisnotcorrelation Tags Must Die (1)

Abuzar (732558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110629)

I don't think the taggers involved even read the summaries anymore

Welcome to the new slashdot, the new IT idiocracy. News for idiots, stuff that's dumber. Who cares about reading the article or summary anyways? Just go for that first post and try to rev up them karma points with all time lame and worn out jokes.

Re:Causationisnotcorrelation Tags Must Die (2, Funny)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110647)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, karma points rev up YOU!

. . . jokes wear out YOU!

. . . summaries don't read YOU!

Seriously, humor is subjective. Some of us adore repeated memes and tired, stale attempts at nonsense. Don't lump us in with people who refuse to articles linked in the summary.

CausIsNotCorr vs. CorrIsNotCaus (1)

PontifexPrimus (576159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110931)

Am I the only one to notice that the tag attached to the story right now is actually "Causation Is Not Correlation" - which is complete and utter gibberish (as opposed to "Correlation Is Not Causation" which is at least an actual phrase)?
How is it possible for misspelled or just plain wrong tags like this to get to the front page?

Re:Causationisnotcorrelation Tags Must Die (1)

tpheiska (1145505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111031)

These "causationisnotcorrelation" tags are flat-out the dumbest part of Slashdot these days.

Yeah. Whatcouldpossiblygowrong if people would stop that.

Should just do what my parents did... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110603)

...to avoid passive gaming: "Yes, you can play that game, but you have to sit on this gymnastics ball or in that rocking chair."

Result: I play a lot of games. (~4 hours per day) Also, I'm not fat. I may not be running any marathons, but I doubt I'll be overwhelmed by obesity or heart disease.

Cancer though... I'm sure staring at a CRT for the first ten years of my life messed something up. :P

Re:Should just do what my parents did... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111131)

Cancer though... I'm sure staring at a CRT for the first ten years of my life messed something up. :P

They emit electromagnetic radiation, you know!

Lazy Government loves a soft target (3, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110631)

It's easier for the Government to crack down on Games than it is to face up to the Tobacco Lobby: Consider when Tony Blair was UK PM he was caught with a donation from Formula One motor Racing boss Bernie Ecklestone, generously given after Blair changed his mind and decided to allow tobacco sponsorship of the Formula One Grand Prix after all.

Tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable death in Europe. The World Health Organisation said there have been 40 million tobacco-related deaths since 1999. So how does the British Government Respond? ATTACK GAMES! At least they're consistent with that brilliant Iraq/Afganistan Strategy...

http://www.ashaust.org.au/mediareleases/081104.htm [ashaust.org.au]

Re:Lazy Government loves a soft target (2, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110973)

It's easier for the Government to crack down on Games than it is to face up to the Tobacco Lobby:

Right. Because all they've done is (i) completely ban smoking adverts; (ii) raise the legal smoking age to 18 from 16; (iii) put increasedly gruesome warning messages on packs; (iv) massively increased the size of those warning messages; (v) banned tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting events.

Pussies.

Re:Lazy Government loves a soft target (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111197)

Yeah, if they were serious the would've also vi) banned smoking inside public buildings and vii) taxed cigarettes to death to make the habit prohibitively expensive

Oh, hand on...

Re:Lazy Government loves a soft target (1)

Simon (815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111091)

I agree with you 100% that games are a soft target. But the obvious 'hard' target which they ignored in this case isn't tobacco, but the television and film industries, aka the media. The reasons are obvious. As a government you don't offend the media industry when it has such powerful control over the airwaves and public opinion.

Actually that rule applies to everyone in the west. Millions of people from all parts of the population spend countless hours of the day parked on the couch, motionless, staring at a box each day. When was the last time you heard anyone suggest in public (or private) that maybe that might not be such a good thing?

--
Simon

idiots (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110663)

Hey they's funny because I seem to keep losing weight since I started playing FPS games that make me sweat my ass off and my heart pound and also playing DDR. Must be some other explanation cuz everyone knows, gaming is teh evilz!

Reminds me of a book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110665)

There's a book -- non fiction -- called "Malaria dreams." In one part of the book the author/protagonist is crossing lake Chad, or rather the dried up lake bed of what was formerly lake Chad, in Africa. In this crossing of this flat, unending, barren terrain, he comes across a group of heavy metallers, pushing a roofless Citroen (you can't make this stuff up). They have hacked the roof off the gas-starved Citroen in order to make it lighter, and thus easier to push. They are part of a band, the name of which is "Early Death."

Books, School? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110671)

Why don't they say the same things about reading books and sitting in classroom at school? You're still sitting on your ass not moving much.

There's a FAR more effective way (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110711)

It's called conscription. Hooray for government! That'll save lives!

oh, wait...

Massive Wii advertisement opportunity... (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110715)

hop to it, Nintendo! Clearly the Wii is *not* a target of these ads as the Wii is probably the top-most incentive to get -some- exercise in since.. well I'm not sure -what- in the last 20 years (probably before, but I'm not that old) has inspired people to exercise, despite countless 'government' campaigns to try and achieve exactly that.

Actually, I suppose there was that short-lived Dance Dance Revolution fad...

Compared to what? (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110747)

Assuming you fill your snack stash with healthier food, and get maybe an hour of exercise a week, I don't see how games could be anything but just about the safest possible hobby.

Athletics? All sorts of wear and tear on your body. Many sports carry the risk of head injury. Even golf can destroy your joints and you might get hit by a flying golf ball.

Going to bars and trying to get laid? Don't get me started on all the risks there.

Driving sports cars? Skydiving? Riding motorcycles? Rock climbing? Hiking? Hunting? Fishing in a small boat?

Every single one of those activities is not particularly risky...but they are all significantly more dangerous than sitting on your couch or a chair and playing a video game.

As long as you avoid serious obesity (a small amount of paunch is not correlated with an increased risk of death) and occasionally get a tiny amount of exercise, it's probably about the safest hobby in existence.

don't read (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110823)

The same thing goes for reading.

No Shit, Sherlock..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110885)

It's about time.....

It's the same as the government-mandated warning on cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Sitting in front of the TV or computer than, say, going outside and playing a game of catch, will almost certainly result in a loss of muscle, increase in fat, and increased health problems resulting from increased caloric intake and decreased activity, unless your diet consists of nothing but lettuce and water.

Lifestyle is not just recreation (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27110899)

Sure if your recreation/hobbies are sedentry (video games, reading slashdot, watching TV etc) AND your job is a sedentry one (sitting at a desk all day, and you drive to work or take the bus, then you are probably not getting enough exercise.

On the other hand if your job involves a lot of moving aroung, lifting, carrying etc, and you walk or cycle to work, then it may not matter that you relax in a couch afterward.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27110917)

Iá surprised no one has mentioned world of warcraft yet?

Gaming is not a lifestyle its a choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27111071)

I am, and always have been a gamer. As early as 14 my brother and I have been known for pulling 18 hour shifts ( overlap our time at raids and duel box the rest ) on MMO's, well recently we have been raising kids actually, but in the last 12 years we have raided almost every major dungeon in mainstream MMO's, played a hundred MUD's and beaten most every game on any console.

We also both have sate championship wins in TKD, businesses, families, our health and my brother has served in 8 countries (he's still a better gamer then me).

How much did they spend to figure out if you sit in front of a Tv all day you will get fat? No shit really?!?

I think this study is nothing more then what we Americans have seen in the past decade from the anti-smoking campaigns. Its amounts to nothing more then FUD sponsored by big money.

As for those that this study points to, get up, go outside and walk a block...EVERYDAY. Trust me it wont kill you.

They are right (sort of) (2, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#27111177)

Yes, a sedentary lifestyle can damage your health. The government are quick to point this out when you sit down to play a computer game but they don't seem to give a crap that you've got to sit down in front of a PC for 8 or 9 hours a day just to make ends meet.

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