Synyster Graves

Rickets caused by games, not a shit diet…

by on Nov.16, 2010, under Games vs "Science"

Today’s piece of journalistic bullshit comes courtesy of Britain’s most meaningless newspaper The Sun. To be honest in the seldom I read the paper (mainly only covering the sports pages at the back and Page 3) and article was brought to my attention which again villifies video games without any kind of “scientific” proof. The article is here and to be honest when I read it, it was one of the more ridiculous claims I think I’ve ever heard.

“CRIPPLING bone disease rickets has made a shock comeback – because kids are staying indoors with video games instead of playing in the sunshine.

The condition – rife in gloomy 19th-century slums but wiped out in Britain in the 1930s – has been found in more than A FIFTH of children in a Southampton study.

And unlike the olden days, when it was linked with poverty, medics say it is now just as rife in middle-class youngsters.

The disease is caused by a lack of vitamin D – created when sun reacts with the skin – and causes children’s bones to become soft.

Classic signs of the disease in the past include bow legs and “knock knees”.

Paediatric orthopedic surgeon Professor Clarke, of Southampton General Hospital, checked more than 200 local kids for the study. He said children must be encouraged to get more sun, by cutting down on computer games and walking to and from school.

Dr Justin Davies, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist, added: “This is almost certainly a combination of the modern lifestyle, which involves a lack of exposure to sunlight, but also covering up in sunshine, and we’re seeing cases that are very reminiscent of 17th-century England.”

This is England...sunshine is a priviledge not all of us get to see often

Well the first point is this. This is England. There is no sunshine most of the year. It’s cold and raining, and when I was younger my mum would never let me play outside in a torrential rainstorm. Yes I agree we did play outside with football and mountain bikes and while that’s on the slide now with kids, that doesn’t mean that video games are solely to blame. What about television? What about movies? Using the internet? Don’t kids play with toys anymore? We had some wicked toys when we were kids! Especially Nerf guns! But I digress, the fact is that kids don’t just play video games as soon as they’re under some kind of shelter. But I suppose one of the other reasons why kids don’t go out is because there’s nothing to do, apart from petty crime. The point is we don’t have some kind of enforced incarceration whereby the sole onus for staying is video games. It is with me, but I’m an adult, and I don’t have rickets. But that fact that this reprehensible claim that 20% of children in Southampton are affected is a bit farfetched. Unless they were doing a survey on a hospital ward. As a resident of Southampton, are you telling me that driving down the street, 1 in every 5 children I will see will have bowed legs? Because I’ve lived here for a while and I still haven’t seen anyone with funny legs. Or heard of anyone suffering from this. If they were going to make up an ancient disease to frighten everyone, why did they choose one that has obvious and visual symptoms? Surely it would be more believeable to have one with hidden ailments. But they didn’t, so now they look ridiciulous.

Vampires don't see sun either, and don't have comedy legs either!

The other point I’d like to make is that it’s a deficiency in calcium and vitamin D. So surely that is also up to the parents to provide a healthy meal. Isn’t the onus on parenting to supply necessary nutrition? Vitamin D comes from sunlight and fish apparently, so I don’t see why it’s so hard to incorporate that into a diet, well not the sunlight part. But here’s another thing I was thinking, what happens in countries like Iceland and Norway when they get about 3 hours of sunlight in winter? Are all the children there malaised with rickets? So if the entire population was in playing video games would that disprove this ridiculous theory?

Lets not forget that this is the same newspaper that accused half the population of Liverpool for robbing the dead after the Hillsborough disaster, when people were desperate to find their loved ones. So they’re hardly accurate with thier information are they?

At the end of the day, a balanced diet is fine because as a child I played a lot of games and still do, and I eat well, yet I don’t have these “17th century” ailments that this dickhead journalist was trying to portray. What next? Video games cause scurvy? Cholera? Typhoid? Fuck off and get signal. Professor Clarke of Southampton General Hospital clearly must be shit at every game if they spontaneously single out video games as the cause of this because there is no rational evidence for this claim. I’m fed up of medical douchebags blaming games when they have no evidence. Has it ever occurred to your Professor Clarke that eating shit is the main cause, not games. And if you can find some sunshine, share it with the rest of us. As usual The Sun keeps up the standard of speaking  nonsense, and parents if you’re reading this, I wouldn’t send your kids to tanning parlours…it’s not the same thing!

If you ask me, I’d rather have my kids in playing video games rather than them watching shit like Glee. That’s way more damaging physically and psychologically.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Whyte Rabit

    Don’t forget that now-a-day kids playing outside means them getting picked up by some nonce or serial murderer who’s on early release because the prisons are too full. So another reason apart from raging thunderstorms for parents not to let their kids play outside. But this argument is moot: as you mentioned, there’s no bloody sun anyway!

  • Azazel Shadows

    Again from the article:
    “People need just 20 minutes exposure to natural sunlight daily to help the body to metabolise vitamin D and ward off rickets.”

    And from the ever useful wikipedia:
    Vitamin D3 is made in the skin when 7-dehydrocholesterol reacts with UVB ultraviolet light at wavelengths between 270–300 nm, with peak synthesis occurring between 295-297 nm. These wavelengths are present in sunlight when the UV index is greater than 3. At this solar elevation, which occurs daily within the tropics, daily during the spring and summer seasons in temperate regions, and almost never within the arctic circles, vitamin D3 can be made in the skin.

    It is also dependant on the level of cloud cover. Low to very low cloud cover apparently magnifies the rays rather than blocks them.

    I don’t know about you but school enforced through break times, PE and Games lessons a period of time well in excess of 20 mins outside. But given that during winter months this potentially wouldn’t supply us the neccessary Vitamin D there has to be alternative sources.

    As Synyster quite rightly said this is not an epidemic in places like Iceland and Norway as there are alternate sources of vitamin D. Milk, Egg yolks, Cheese and oily fish. Suprise, Suprise, one of Norway and Icelands principle industries is….Fishing.

    So, as long as you don’t have a diet that consists mainly of Mc D’s and takeaways, venture outside once in a while your going to be fine unlike the suggestion made by the dubious Professor and the even more dubious paper (can’t really call it a newspaper) that this appeared in. This appears nothing more than an attempt to scaremonger or pass the blame of bad parenting onto video games. Whilst this is lapped up by the general audience of this paper, those of us who can count our butt cheeks and come up with the same number twice can see through the bollocks and see the true situation.

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