Pokémon Go isn't making gamers fitter, says Harvard study

It will get you exercising more... for a short period

Pokémon Go isn't making gamers fitter, says Harvard study

Picture by Isabel Infantes EMPICS Entertainment

Heralded as a potential game-changer in terms of getting players exercising while they play, it now turns out Pokémon Go isn't the answer to all your exercise needs. 

The supposed fitness boost that many thought the augmented reality title would supply for people when it swept the globe earlier this year is "moderate" and ultimately short-lived, according to a new study from Harvard University. 

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, found that, while players walked an average of 955 extra steps a day in their first week, there was quickly a big drop-off in that figure.

By week six, Pokémon Go enthusiasts were back down to the same number of steps they had been taking before they downloaded it. 

The report stated:

"Pokémon Go has been suggested to improve public health by promoting physical activity. In our study population, however, the results indicate that the health impact of Pokemon Go might be moderate.

"Interventions designed to increase walking typically increase the number of steps by 2,500 daily. Even if smaller amounts of physical activity might also be important for health outcomes, the increase in steps from Pokemon Go, as with many physical activity interventions was not sustained over time.

"Pokémon Go might also entail risks, such as injuries and road traffic incidents."

Harvard researchers followed 560 players who had achieved a "trainer level" of five or higher, and compared their behaviour with more than 600 people who did not have the game. The participants were all in the US, aged between 18 and 35, and using an iPhone 6.

While they did not look at the reasons for the drop-off, it was most likely due to people abandoning the game as the novelty wore off. 

Pokémon Go arrived in July and has ow been downloaded more than 500 million times. Just this week, it finally arrived in a number of new markets, including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.