Research Brief| Volume 45, ISSUE 3, P264-268, May 2013

Improving Weight Maintenance Using Virtual Reality (Second Life)



      Compare weight loss and maintenance between a face-to-face (FTF) weight management clinic and a clinic delivered via virtual reality (VR).


      Participants were randomized to 3 months of weight loss with a weekly clinic delivered via FTF or VR and then 6 months' weight maintenance delivered with VR. Data were collected at baseline and 3 and 6 months for weight and process variables. Twenty overweight and obese individuals (31.1 ± 3.6 years of age; body mass index, 32.8 ± 5.1; 85% females; 20% minorities) responded to advertisement and met inclusion criteria. Diets (1,200–1,800 kcal/d) used prepackaged meals, fruits and vegetables, and physical activity (300 min/wk).


      Weight loss was significantly greater for FTF at 10.8% compared with 7.6% for VR (P < .05). However, weight maintenance was significantly greater for VR at 14.0% compared with 9.5% for FTF (P < .05).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Virtual reality compares favorably with FTF for weight loss and may facilitate greater weight maintenance.

      Key Words

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