Pokémon Go "catching" approval from some doctors - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Pokémon Go "catching" approval from some doctors

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Pokémon Go is the most downloaded app in the world, users of all ages play the game at parks, churches and even at the Aquarium.

Along with the game's explosive popularity, local pediatricians at Children’s Hospital say the app is getting "gamers" off the couch and outdoors. Some patients report losing several pounds since the game launched.     

"It forces kids to get out of the house because you really can't play it at home," Dr. Jack said.

Doctor Joani Jack is a pediatrician at Children's Hospital in Chattanooga, she said the app has done more than just entertain her patients, it's given them a fun way to exercise.

"If you're trying to convince kids to get on a treadmill or take a spin class, a lot of things adults do for exercise, kids are not interested," Dr. Jack said.

The virtual reality requires kids like Mollie to walk to parks, museums, and churches to capture the games' creatures.

"Sometimes if you get an egg you have to walk five kilometers, which is much more walking than some might do,” Mollie said.

So can just walking while playing a game actually reduce health risks?

Doctor Jack says it can, she said each minute of activity adds a protective factor against things such as heart disease, obesity, stroke, and diabetes.

"There's two parts to activity, one is the requirement is to be physically active; the other part is to avoid sedentary activity. Both of those affect long term risk factors,” Dr. Jack said.

Pediatricians recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and stress the importance of staying hydrated while outdoors.

Doctor Jack said they hospital is in the early stages of their tracking progress, one patient reports walking four hours a day, another says he's lost about five pounds since downloading the game.

The hospital hopes to begin gathering data and monitoring results in the near future. Some are skeptical about the health benefits of Pokémon Go, but some doctors say it works.

Patients are “Catchin’ em all” and "Losin’ it all" -- all  at the same time.

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