Esports video gamers healthier, MORE fit than the general public, surprising study shows

BRISBANE, Australia — The stereotypical image of the out of shape video game player pounding junk food and sugary drinks well into the wee hours of the morning is officially outdated. A new study from Queensland University of Technology reports Esports gamers (professional gamers competing in tournaments for large cash prizes) are in better physical shape than a significant portion of the general population.

After surveying 1,400 gamers living in 65 countries, researchers say Esports gamers are nine to 21 percent more likely to enjoy a healthy body weight than other people. Also, gamers are much less likely to drink alcohol or smoke. Interestingly, the absolute best Esports players are much more physically active on a regular basis than lower-ranked players. This, according to the study authors, suggests physical fitness may influence video gaming abilities.

“The findings challenge the stereotype of the morbidly obese gamer,” says QUT esports researcher Michael Trotter in a university release. “When you think of esports, there are often concerns raised regarding sedentary behavior and poor health as a result, and the study revealed some interesting and mixed results. As part of their training regime, elite esports athletes spend more than an hour per day engaging in physical exercise as a strategy to enhance gameplay and manage stress.”

The World Health Organization recommends that everyone spend at least 150 minutes per week engaged in physical activity.

“Only top-level players surveyed met physical activity guidelines, with the best players exercising on average four days a week,” Trotter adds.

Esports gamers have fewer bad habits than others

However, there are of course some out of shape Esports players. The findings reveal just over four percent of Esports gamers are more likely to be morbidly obese than the rest of the population.

“Exercise and physical activity play a role in success in esports and should be a focus for players and organizations training esports players,” Trotter says. “This will mean that in the future, young gamers will have more reason and motivation to be physically active.”

“Grassroots esports pathways, such as growing university and high school esports, are likely to be the best place for young esports players to develop good health habits for gamers,” he continues.

Esports players are 7.8 percent more likely to avoid alcohol on a daily basis. Even among players who do drink, only 0.5 percent do so every day. Meanwhile, just 3.7 percent of Esports players smoke every day. That’s far less than the global smoking average of 18.7 percent.

Moving forward, study authors want to figure out ways high schools and colleges can make sure Esports players are getting in enough physical activity.

The study is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.