Are games killing us?

Another risk is the poor nutrition inherent in extended gaming sessions. "If you don't eat the right foods, the body will start to cannibalize itself." Oh. God. "If you have a calorie deficit, the body has to look for other sources. Your body will start to break itself down and use muscle for fuel. If you choose to keep living that way, there comes a point when organs start to fail."

Sean pauses. "I don't think you'll really get organ failure playing computer games."

More likely though, is that you'll simply become sickly. "If you spend most of your free time on the PC, your body will just be weaker," says Sean Trevena. "Things like afflictions and colds will hit you harder. A healthy, fit body will more easily fight off disease."

The good news? Pretty much any damage you do is reversible. "It's one of the amazing things about the human body. In most cases you can come back from it if you choose to change how you're living."

Dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association Jacqui Lowden agrees that death is the only point of no return in terms of changing your ways. But she adds some additional potential horrors. "Obesity is a risk factor for all sorts of problems such a high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease. Type 2 diabetes and strokes are also a high possibility. One in three people die of heart disease in the UK... Along with cancer, it's the single biggest killer. You don't necessarily have to be overweight to develop heart disease - if you have a very poor diet you're at risk."

The way to stave off a heart attack? Replace the Pepsi and jellybeans with a bowl of fruit. That five portions of fruit or vegetables a day that the government advise us we should eat isn't a recommendation. It's a necessity. "In actual fact it should be between seven and nine portions a day," says Jacqui. "That's exactly why we chose five - if the government made a campaign to do more than that most people wouldn't manage it. The national average is three to five is achievable."

Though it's just as much a problem for anyone who spends hours a day at a PC, obesity is one those bugbears often linked to gaming and TV lifestyles, and just as often shrugged off by the people actually living them. While it's not going to affect everyone, you shouldn't discount it just because you're not the size of a house after a couple of weeks of inactivity. "You're gaining the weight over a long period of time," explains Jacqui. "As the months and weeks go buy you can gain twenty pounds without realizing. Some people think it's never going to happen to them, but it will catch up to them. A heart attack is a real wake-up call."

Exercise won't help you in regard to repetitive strain injury (RSI), however. This is an ailment that's a direct result of extended PC usage, and you've probably suffered at some point whether you were aware of it or not. If you're sitting in one position all day, making constant, repeated tiny movements like tapping WASD or clicking a mouse button, the muscles, tendons and nerves in your arms and upper back are kept in a tense state. They become aggravated.