26th November 2008: When broadcaster and health campaigner Anne Diamond reviewed some videogames earlier this year, her damnation was so scathing that it overshadowed The Byron Review, a major government-commissioned report on the subject. Fast forward eight months and the leading health campaigner is now working with researchers to test a theory that certain casual games may actually help weight loss and she’s recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial to put the theory to the test.
This study was prompted by work already undertaken in the U.S. by East Carolina University research published in May 2008 which showed casual videogames relieved stress [see the following for more information www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/news/releases/2008/4/ecupopcapstudy04282008.cfm].
“Of course, we are not talking about the kinds of violent games I reviewed earlier in the year, and which caused such a stir in the gaming world” Diamond comments. “We’re looking at casual videogames. Research suggests that, unlike the violent and adrenalin-fuelled titles I reviewed, certain “casual” games can reduce stress levels, enhance mood, and even reduce depression. What’s more, they could actually help with weight loss – a subject very close to my heart. The theory is that playing casual games like PopCap.co.uk’s Bejeweled Twist for a few minutes, say at lunchtime, or at a stressful time of day, can provide a simple distraction from food cravings, helping dieters remain focussed, de-stress them and lift their mood – very important features in weight loss… So naturally, I wanted to know more.”
Respected dietician and nutritionist, Nigel Denby, who will conduct the research throughout January 2009 added: “Beating cravings and ‘grazing’ are two of the most challenging aspects of dieting for many people and January 1st is traditionally when many people embark on a diet. The majority have fallen off the wagon within three weeks. We’ve therefore decided to make this trial a real torture test and see if Bejeweled Twist can help New Year dieters achieve their goals.”
Cathy Orr of PopCap.co.uk, the company behind Bejeweled Twist and whose games were used in the clinical trials in the US said, “We are delighted Anne is involved in the new trial. We are just beginning to understand some of the positive health benefits casual games can have and we hope that we can find some good news for the millions of dieters in the UK.”
Dieters who wish to participate in the trial should visit www.popcap.co.uk to try out Bejeweled Twist and sign up for the study. The research will take place throughout January 2009.
Anne Diamond added: “Losing and managing weight is a struggle – some experts say that 12.8 million Brits are on a diet at any one time and all my research shows that it is a life sentence, and people need to develop strategies to stop snacking or comfort eating. Anything that can help make dieting even a little bit easier and less stressful is a positive development and playing casual games is something that anyone can do, any time, anywhere.”
Bejeweled is the most popular casual game franchise of the 21st century, with more than 350 million copies downloaded and over 25 million units sold. Bejeweled Twist is the first new Bejeweled title in almost four years.
NOTE TO EDITORS
PopCap.co.uk is the leading multi-platform provider of “casual games” — fun, easy-to-learn, captivating computer games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 200 people. PopCap games have been downloaded more than 1 billion times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 25 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap’s games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, mobile phones and MP3 players, and game device manufacturers.
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The PopCap logo and all other trademarks used herein that are listed at www.popcap.com/trademarks are owned by PopCap Games, Inc. or its licensors and may be registered in some countries. Other company and product names used herein may be trademarks of their respective owners and are used for the benefit of those owners.