A group of economists released a paper recently suggesting young men are working fewer hours because they are spending so much time playing video games. Video games might also help explain a study last month from Johns Hopkins University researchers who said today’s 19-year-old is as sedentary as a 60-year-old.
Inactive lifestyles, obesity and the opioid epidemic have combined to end a streak of life expectancy increases. In 2015, the number dropped for the first time in two decades — from 78.9 to 78.8. Social media, phones, video games and TV are keeping people from being on their feet, from making friends and from being productive.
The economists found that American men 21 to 30 were working 203 fewer hours a year than the same age group did in 2000. Part of that difference is because gaming and social isolation prevent some men from even entering the workforce. Some men, researchers believe, limit the amount of time they work so they can play games.
All of this matters. Inactive lifestyles and poor diets are directly linked to increasing obesity rates, which correlate with the decline in life expectancy.
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Choosing social isolation or gaming over a fulfilling job or friendship deprives a person of support systems that could help when dealing with an addiction. And decreased productivity and unemployment prevent the economy from reaching peak efficiency. Americans need to get back to moving their bodies.