Last week, at the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) annual business meeting in Chicago, delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents, and students throughout the country adopted positions on a number of health care issues of concern to patients and physicians. Among these resolutions was a measure recognizing physically active video games as an element of a patient’s fitness and therapeutic exercise routine.
Below is an excerpt from the AOA’s press release, available here.
Once labeled an unhealthy activity, video games have received acknowledgment from the medical community that their use can be beneficial for one’s health. Members of the AOA House of Delegates approved a measure that physicians consider recommending physically active video games, such as those games that encourage players to perform traditional exercise routines in their homes, as an element of a patient’s fitness and therapeutic exercise program.
“As an osteopathic internist, I encourage my patients to increase their level of physical activity to help them improve their overall health. A few of my patients have found interactive video games to be a good fit for them in terms of flexibility and variety compared to traditional exercises,” said Geraldine T. O’Shea, D.O., a board-certified internist and chair of the Bureau on Scientific Affairs and Public Health, which submitted this policy.
The policy also authorizes the AOA to encourage additional research about the health benefits of using physically active video games as part of both an exercise routine and physical rehabilitation.
Personally, I’m excited about the possibility for research into the health benefits of video games. There are far too many sensational stories about the potential negative effects of video games on children (most notably, violent video games). While these studies and their results certainly have merit and parents should take great care to make sure their children are not exposed to potentially dangerous media, it’s nice to see video games portrayed in a positive light once in a while. I extend my compliments and appreciation to the osteopathic medical community for being on the leading edge of this avenue for research.
To learn more about osteopathic medicine, visit the website of the American Osteopathic Organization. For more information regarding this video game resolution and the other policies discussed at last week’s conference, visit the AOA’s media site.