University of Leicester researchers believe Pokémon Go could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Pokémon Go is a virtual reality smartphone app that encourages users to walk around and catch characters that appear on their phone screens.
The app is now being played by millions of users worldwide, and could be an “innovative solution” to increasing rates of obesity in the UK, which shares a significant relationship with type 2 diabetes.
“If there is something out there which is getting people off the sofa and pounding the streets then this game could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels,” said Dr. Tom Yates, an expert in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Health at the University of Leicester.
“Walking is hugely underrated yet it is man’s best and the cheapest form of exercise. It’s an easy and accessible way to get active and help maintain a healthy body.”
The UK has the second highest rate of obesity in Europe, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. “Recent figures suggest five million people in England are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” added Yates.
While the game could be influential in reducing rates of obesity or type 2 diabetes, it could also be valuable for people who already have type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes.
Last week, a US study found that brisk walking can help people with prediabetes achieve better blood sugar control, and a 2015 study observed that people with type 2 diabetes who exercise after meals have a reduced risk of cardiovascular risk.