According to a new study, being fat is actually an advantage when it comes to participating in video game tournaments.
Obese people are more prone to impulsive behaviors — such as eating — and the trait boosts performance in esports, scientists say.
And eating high-calorie cookies and cakes and guzzling fizzy drinks is good too, as the energy lift gives it an edge over rivals during marathon races.
The surprising finding has implications for taller people in the office, scientists and bosses say they should consider for computer-based activities.
Lead author Dr. Petr Parshakova said: “Employers have too little insight into how to select employees for certain tasks.
“We tried to answer the question: Does BMI affect computer literacy outcomes? This is the first such analysis ever.”
The findings are based on CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) – a shooting game played by more than a million people around the world.
The BMI (body mass index) of 821 players was evaluated from photos using AI (artificial intelligence).
Individual results from 2012 to 2020 showed that severely obese people were more successful in long competitions.
dr. Parshakova, of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Perm, Russia, said: “They outperformed everyone else.
“As playing time increases, a high BMI appears to be a positive factor.
“The idiosyncrasies of the psyche and physiology of obese individuals may explain this.”
The dataset contained 127,533 matches. Obese participants were divided into three BMI groups: Class I (30-35), Class II (35-40), and Class III (over 40).
They made up a quarter of the sample – close to population data from many countries. In 2016, for example, the share was 28 and 36 percent in the UK and US, respectively.
dr. Parshakova said, “The reason people with Class III obesity are more efficient may be due to their higher impulsivity.
“It is considered to be one of the causes of obesity and video game addiction.
“Another explanation could be that obese people consume more calories, enabling them to cope with long-term tasks.”
He added: “It touches on the broader issue of including obese individuals in modern work often associated with computer technology.”
‘Obesity is not considered a disease’
Worldwide, about one in eight adults is obese and four in ten overweight. Britain has been called the “Fat Man of Europe” with two in three people being overweight or obese.
dr. Parshakova said: “Obesity and overweight have become modern global health problems.
“It directly affects overweight people and society’s attitude towards them.
“Yet obesity is not considered a disease in medical research, although its relationship to numerous diseases and health conditions has been proven.”
It has been linked to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases, diabetes, some cancers, and even cognitive decline.
Few studies have shown its effects on job performance.
Results from the esports industry are in the public domain – as are snapshots of the players.
dr. Parshakova said, “This is an opportunity for a quasi-experiment — when the researcher doesn’t influence the participants or the circumstances.
“It’s problematic to collect such data in other fields — for example, in engineering, design or analysis, where people perform repetitive tasks of varying durations on the computer.”