Average adult US gamer is 35, more likely to be overweight, depressed, claims CDC

Government study of 552 Americans aged 19-90 finds those who game are more likely to be paunchy, have mental health issues, and get AARP invites than non-gamers.


Often, games are dismissed as a youthful pastime. However, a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the average US gamer doesn't even fall into the 18-34-year-old demographic advertisers and MTV programmers so highly prize. According to the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and provided to MSNBC, the average adult American gamer is 35, the age when the ostensibly retirement-age organization AARP starts sending out invitation letters.

Curiously, the study did not include gamers 18 and under, making its results skew older than the actual average gamer age. It was also unclear who qualified as a "gamer" and who did not. A recent report from industry research firm the NPD Group, which included young and casual gamers, classified over 170 million Americans as gamers, around half the US population.

According to the CDC, South Park wasn't too far off...
According to the CDC, South Park wasn't too far off...

It gets worse. The study, which was conducted in conjunction with Emory University and Andrews University, also found the majority of adult gamers had "a greater number of poor mental health days" compared to non-gamers. They also were more often overweight and antisocial than teetotalers of computer entertainment, according to researchers.

"Video game players also reported lower extraversion, consistent with research on adolescents that linked video game playing to a sedentary lifestyle and overweight status, and to mental-health concerns," the study authors wrote. Female gamers were particularly likely to be hit by depression and "lower health status." It also found that women are more like to use games as a "digital self-medication." Male players spent "more time using the Internet and rely more on Internet-community social support."

The CDC study surveyed 552 adults--4,448 less than a controversial Game Informer survey on console reliability--aged 19-90 in the environs of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. The location, near the corporate headquarters of Microsoft and Nintendo of America, was picked because it boasted some of the highest per-capita Internet usage in the country. Conducted in 2006, the CDC study findings weren't analyzed until 2008 and apparently not published until this year.

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