1 July 2013
A new pilot study has indicated that virtual reality technology could have a role to play in weight loss.
Research conducted at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services suggested that watching an avatar perform weight-loss behaviours in a virtual community could help some women lose weight for real.
The researchers created videos showing an avatar in different circumstances such as walking on a treadmill, or pushing a shopping trolley around a supermarket. Participants were then allowed to alter the skin tone and shape of the avatar so that it resembled them more closely.
The women watched a 15-minute DVD of an avatar performing healthy weight loss behaviours once a week. After four weeks the study found the women had lost an average of 3.5lbs. Although this is a fairly typical loss on a traditional diet plan, the researchers hope this programme will help participants keep weight off for good.
Further studies will need to be conducted to confirm these preliminary findings and discover whether men and women really do achieve and maintain weight loss.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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