Turning virtual weight loss into reality

This post is from DiSH Lab intern Nick:

We often associate technology, especially video games, with unhealthy behavior and laziness, essentially leading to obesity. However, researchers at Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education have found a way to use technology  to instill healthy eating behaviors and habits. In this recent study, the team of researchers used virtual reality simulators and avatars to replicate weight loss behaviors, such as portioning food and exercising daily. The study surveyed 128 overweight women based on usage of virtual reality simulations and weight loss activity in the past year. Eight overweight female participants then watched a DVD in which an avatar resembling them enacts weight loss habits. The trial lasted for four weeks. In the end, without any instructions to exercise or mimic the avatar, the women had lost an average of 3.5 pounds, which is about normal for typical weight loss plans. So, although society may pool video games and unhealthy and lazy behavior together, this new technology may be the answer to translate virtual weight loss to reality!