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The Pokémon Go craze could play a hugely positive role in tackling obesity by encouraging people to get more physically active.

The new location-based, augmented reality mobile game – developed by Niantic and Nintendo – encourages players to walk and move around, searching and “collecting” characters in order to advance in the game.

Pokémon Go has proven an instant hit and has become one of the most used smart device apps shortly after its launch.

According to web traffic monitor SimilarWeb, Pokémon GO already has more daily active users than Twitter and, if the trend continues, it is poised to take on Snapchat, WhatsApp and other popular social apps. The game has already reached 11 per cent of US Android phones.

Crucially, most players use the app actively throughout the day.

Figures show that each player is spending an average of 43 minutes a day, walking and looking for Pokémon.

Spending that amount of time on the move each day, seven days a week, would result in an average man burning 1,795 calories, while for a woman the figure is 1,503.

According to Dr John Grohol, director of web-based health community Psych Central, the game can also help those with mental health issues by making them more active and encouraging them to engage with other players.

“We already know that exercise helps greatly with depression, but being motivated to exercise when you’re depressed is a challenge,” Grohol says. “That’s why an engaging game like Pokémon Go can be helpful.

“Pokémon Go does this by encouraging people to get outside, take a walk, talk to others, and explore the world around them.

“Granted, it’s through their smartphone acting as an interface, but walking is walking, even if the motivation for doing so is to play a game.”

• Pokémon Go has also benefitted other areas of leisure. Many of the “Poke Stops” and “Poke Gyms” – spots where players can recharge their game reservoires and challenge others – have been designated at famous landmarks.

As a result, museums and visitor attractions – such as the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. – received "hundreds or thousands" of extra people visiting them on the weekend following Pokémon Go's release in the country.

Cafés and other businesses located close to Pokémon “landmarks” have also reported increases in footfall.

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The Pokemon Go craze could play a hugely positive role in tackling obesity by encouraging people to get more physically active.
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Pokemon Go is getting people more physically active
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