Researchers at USC, Palo Alto, and the University of Delaware have come to the conclusion that online gamers are fitter than the average American.

Their research involved surveying 7000 players of the Everquest II online role playing game.

The results suggest that adult gamers have an average body mass index of 25.2, compared to the overall American average of 28. The average gamer also engages in vigorous exercise once or twice a week, which the researchers say is more than most Americans. The reasons for this are not obvious, although the team suggest it may be because more educated, wealthier people are attracted to computer games, and these people also tend to take better care of their health.

I can certainly see the correlation, and I know plenty of people who play online games that are extremely fit. Of course, I also know plenty of people who aren’t, so I don’t know how well this relatively small sample size can create a trend for the industry. It would be interesting to see whether the results stay the same if they were to conduct their research across a multitude of different games and had a larger sample size.

There is one negative note of interest to the study, however. Apparently, the demographic they found that plays the online games is more prone to depression and substance abuse. It seems to me that those folks should get out to exercise 3 to 5 times per week instead of just 1 to 2.

Here’s an informal survey to continue their research. I’ll assume that if you are visiting this website that you are relatively fit, so as somebody that is in better shape than the average American, do you play online video games or do you have any substance abuse problems or fits of depression?

I’ll start. I have a BMI of about 21, get bored of games too quickly to make it worth spending much in the way of money on them, and generally have a pretty rosy outlook on life. I can’t say that I have any substance abuse issues, since I’ll sometimes go months at a time without having a drink and rarely have more than 1 or 2 beers at a time. I also don’t regularly use any other sorts of drugs unless they get prescribed to me by my physician, which happens maybe once every year or two.

(More Info: New Scientist vol. 2674 page 24 – Photo Credit: Benny Mazur)