Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Weight loss success in a 3-D virtual world

Date:
June 3, 2011
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Participants in two weight-loss programs -- one at a health club, the other delivered in a virtual world -- lost similar amounts of weight and body fat, but the online contingent reported significantly greater gains in behaviors that could help them live healthier and leaner lives.

Participants in two weight-loss programs -- one involving traditional health club sessions and the other delivered online in a 3D virtual world -- lost similar amounts of weight and body fat, but the online contingent reported significantly greater gains in behaviors that could help them live healthier and leaner lives.

"It's counter-intuitive, the idea of being more active in a virtual world, but the activities that they do in a virtual world can carry over into the real world," said Jeanne Johnston, assistant professor of kinesiology at Indiana University. "Through visualization and education, they can try activities that they had not tried before."

More and more people have been turning to online weight-loss programs, but Johnston said the programs often lack important elements of human interaction. The IU researchers wanted to travel even farther into cyber space by evaluating a weight-loss program offered in a virtual-reality environment, where visitors use avatars to interact with others or the computer-simulated environment -- in this case, a simulated fitness club.

"The virtual world program was at least as beneficial as the face-to-face program and in some ways, more effective," Johnston said. "It has the potential to reach people who normally wouldn't go to a gym or join a program because of limitations, such as time or discomfort with a fitness center environment."

The findings in the study "Comparison of a Face-to-Face versus Virtual World Weight Loss Program" are being presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Denver.

For 12 weeks, members of the each weight-loss program spent at least four hours a week attending meetings at a virtual or real club. In both they learned about nutrition, physical activity, changing habits and how to benefit from social supports. The study involved overweight and obese people -- mostly women. The average age of the face-to-face group was 37. The average age of the virtual world group, which provided training in how to use the Web-based platform Second Life (http://secondlife.com/) was 46.

The participants in each group lost a comparable amount of weight -- on average almost 10 pounds -- and saw similar decreases in body mass index and body fat. The big differences between the two groups involved behaviors. Participants in the face-to-face group reported no significant changes in any of the behaviors evaluated -- actions involving healthy eating, physical activity and sleeping habits. The virtual world participants reported positive changes in all the healthy eating and physical activity measures except the number of hours slept.

"They also had more confidence in their ability to perform physical activity in difficult situations, such as bad weather, vacations, low-energy days," Johnston said.

In collaboration with Celeste De Vaneaux, creative director and CEO of Club One Island, the study was conducted by Johnston, Anne P. Massey, Kelley School of Business, and Victoria S. Lee, a graduate student in kinesiology in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Weight loss success in a 3-D virtual world." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110603102736.htm>.
Indiana University. (2011, June 3). Weight loss success in a 3-D virtual world. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110603102736.htm
Indiana University. "Weight loss success in a 3-D virtual world." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110603102736.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins