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  1. ITV Report

Pokémon Go 'side-effect' is increased exercise, doctor says

Pokémon Go players are benefiting from the 'side-effect' of increased exercise while taking part in the game, according to an article in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Pokémon Go players seem to do a lot of walking while playing the game. Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File

The game is not marketed as a health app but gamers do a lot of walking during play which is an unintended 'side-effect', states Dr Margaret McCartney in the BMJ editorial.

The Glasgow GP said the popular app has made the streets of Britain a "reclaimed playground in which to have interconnected fun".

The Glasgow GP highlights some of the pros and cons that have been reported since the game was launched.

One player walked 140 miles (225km) and lost two stone (12.7kg) while collecting all of the characters, she said, highlighting claims that the app could ease the burden of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

However, she cautions that these claims are not from scientific studies but anecdotal evidence.

Pokémon Go can and should be made safer. Like most things, playing it has a mix of benefit and risk.

Most health apps that promote physical activity tend to get users who want to be healthy. Pokemon Go isn't marketed as a health app, but players still end up doing a lot of walking.

The possibilities for apps to make the streets an active, reclaimed playground in which to have interconnected fun are boundless. Increased physical activity is a tantalising side-effect. Game on.

– Dr Margaret McCartney

Dr McCartney also highlights some of the problems that have come from playing the game.

Players have been particularly warned about the possible dangers of become engrossed in the game and forgetting about their surroundings.

In July, three teenagers had their mobiles stolen at gunpoint while playing the game.