Computer games have long been suspected to be linked with blood pressure and hypertension. It has been hypothesized that marked elevation of blood pressure during play of computer games is a risk factor for future hypertension.
Stress and video games often go hand in hand.
Seated computer gaming is the only sedentary behaviour associated with elevated blood pressure and lipids before and after adjustment for age, sex, pubertal stage, parental education, body mass index (BMI), caloric intake, percent intake in dietary fat, physical activity duration, and intensity. Specifically, video gaming remained positively associated with systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol ratio.
Doctors have determined that the problem with stress is that our body thinks we are still cavemen. There hasn't been time for us to evolve physiologically from the high-threat, short duration stress situations that primitive man faced to the relatively low-threat, long-duration stresses of modern society. When your body receives a message that you are under stress, it automatically thinks you are going to do one of two things, fight or run away. The body does not know how to temper its response to deal with the week-long pressure of dooming deadlines or other stresses that we deal with daily. This overkill response, in time, takes a physical toll, especially on the cardiovascular system. When you are under stress, you are not thriving. Your blood pressure is elevated, your blood clotting mechanism is working at full force, your heart is beating faster than normal and your metabolic rate is up. Keep it for hours and you will be exhausted, for years and you are headed for a heart attack.
During the last several decades, computer games have emerged as one of the most popular forms of adolescent entertainment.
Boys who play violent games tend to have a lower self-concept in the areas of academic ability, peer acceptance and behavior. The most interesting is the possible link between playing violent computer games and subsequent aggressive behavior. Boys aged eight to fourteen are the core audience for computer games. Another study found that a series of three computer games played under three increasing levels of stress elicited progressively higher values of blood pressure and heart rate. Both the race and gender of the subjects affected the reactivity. Heavy computer game players have a difficult time with the regard to discharging aggression, and have a lower frustration tolerance. It has been found that hostility is increased when playing highly aggressive computer games and mildly aggressive games. Subjects playing the high aggression game were much more anxious than the other subjects.
Seated computer gaming is associated with increased blood pressure and lipids in a sample of overweight and obese adolescents, after controlling for adiposity, caloric intake, dietary fat intake, physical activity duration and intensity and several other important confounders.
Reduce time spent playing seated computer games as a possible means to promote health and prevent cardiovascular disease in this high risk group of overweight and obese adolescents.