Page last updated at 23:03 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 00:03 UK

Video gamers 'older than thought'

Obese  child with handheld
Gamers may be getting older, but they are not getting slimmer

The average age of an adult video game player is 35 - higher than previously thought, a US study suggests.

A team from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found gamers were less healthy, fatter, and more depressed than non-gamers.

Researchers from the government agency analysed data from 500 adults aged 19 to 90 in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington state.

More than 45% of those surveyed reported playing video games.

The team chose the Seattle-Tacoma area because its internet usage level is the highest within the US and it is one of the larger markets for media.

A UK survey from 2002, conducted by the Leisure Software Publishers Association, found the average gamer was aged between 25 and 34.

But it also suggested that the average age of the keenest players is gradually edging upwards, a finding reinforced by the CDC finding.

The team from CDC examined people's perception of their mood, personality, health status, physical and mental health, body mass index (BMI) and quality of life.

Female video-game players reported greater depression and lower health status than female non-players, while male gamers reported a higher BMI and a greater reliance on the internet than non-gamers.

CDC's Dr James B Weaver said the results were not that surprising.

"Health risk factors, specifically a higher BMI and a larger number of poor mental-health days, differentiated adult video game players from non-gamers," he said.

"Video game players also reported lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video-game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status."

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