|\\No Comment - Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity & The Statistical Mechanics of Human Weight Change|
|Written by Alex Armstrong|
|Monday, 31 October 2016|
• Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity
• The Statistical Mechanics of Human Weight Change
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We normally think about computing as being something that is detrimental to health because it promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Programmers and gamers are perhaps the worst cases but a new paper suggest that the latest hit VR game might actually make people get some exercise:
Influence of Pokémon Go on Physical Activity: Study and Implications
Physical activity helps people maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk for several chronic diseases. Although this knowledge is widely recognized, adults and children in many countries around the world do not get recommended amounts of physical activity. While many interventions are found to be ineffective at increasing physical activity or reaching inactive populations, there have been anecdotal reports of increased physical activity due to novel mobile games that embed game play in the physical world.
The most recent and salient example of such a game is Pokemon Go, which has reportedly reached tens of millions of users in the US and worldwide.
In the short time span of the study, we estimate that Pokemon Go has added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity. Furthermore, Pokemon Go has been able to increase physical activity across men and women of all ages, weight status, and prior activity levels showing this form of game leads to increases in physical activity with significant implications for public health. We find that Pokemon Go is able to reach low activity populations while all four leading mobile health apps studied in this work largely draw from an already very active population.
Physical activity is obviously related to weight gain but we don't really know very much about what the actual mechanics of weight gain are. A new theoretical model might help frame the questions we need to answer.
The Statistical Mechanics of Human Weight Change
In the context of the global obesity epidemic, it is important to know who becomes obese and why. However, the processes that determine the changing shape of Body Mass Index (BMI) distributions in high-income societies are not well-understood.
Here we establish the statistical mechanics of human weight change, providing a fundamental new understanding of human weight distributions. By compiling and analysing the largest data set so far of year-over-year BMI changes, we find, strikingly, that heavy people on average strongly decrease their weight year-over-year, and light people increase their weight. This drift towards the centre of the BMI distribution is balanced by diffusion resulting from random fluctuations in diet and physical activity that are, notably, proportional in size to BMI.
We formulate a stochastic mathematical model for BMI dynamics, deriving a theoretical shape for the BMI distribution and offering a mechanism to explain the ongoing right-skewed broadening of BMI distributions over time. The model also provides new quantitative support for the hypothesis that peer-to-peer social influence plays a measurable role in BMI dynamics. More broadly, our results demonstrate a remarkable analogy with drift-diffusion mechanisms that are well-known from the physical sciences and finance.
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|Last Updated ( Monday, 31 October 2016 )|