When my son was young (he is now 22), Pokémon was all the craze. So much so that he amassed an impressive collection of Pokémon cards. At that time Pokémon was all about getting the parents to spend money. So when I heard that Pokémon is back, I thought –Oh, here we go again. I managed to find my son’s Pokémon card collection somewhere in the storage and when I offered it to my two younger children, they were not interested….lucky me I thought…
It took some time before I understood that the Pokémon of today is not the Pokémon of my son’s youth. I heard my two younger children talk about “catching the Pokémon with the phone”, but I did not really pay much attention to that. I was just happy that I did not have to buy new Pokémon cards, figures etc.
Then, a few months later, I heard it again. Pokémon. Except that this time it was not my kids that talked about it, but my friends and neighbors. People, who were physically inactive most of their lives, were getting out, moving and losing weight in order to catch the Pokémon. Some claim to have lost more than 10 kilograms thanks to Pokémon GO.
And then, last Sunday morning while I played frisbee golf with my children (at a location where we are normally surrounded by only a few other people who are walking their dog or playing frisbee golf), I counted 157 children in less than 2 hours, walking/running around catching Pokémon! What is it with Pokémon?
Well, it looks like Pokémon managed to do what we have been trying to do for years. Get those that are inactive physically active. With inactivity killing 5 million people every year and costing the health care system 65.7 billion dollars, and with the obesity reaching epidemic proportions I have to admit that Pokémon Go is a brilliant idea. Whatever gets you off the couch and out of the house, do it! Just watch out for the traffic!
Head of CERG, Ulrik Wisløff