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The Immersive Virtual Alimentation and Nutrition Application: An Interactive Digital Dietitian

      Current methods for providing nutrition education on portion size and calorie density rely on didactic tactics such as pamphlets, handouts, and slide show presentations in appointments with registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs). Recent advances in technology, including the development of and increased accessibility to immersive virtual reality (iVR) devices, have been proposed as a novel and impactful method of providing nutrition education.
      • Bordnick PS
      • Carter BL
      • Traylor AC.
      What virtual reality research in addictions can tell us about the future of obesity assessment and treatment.
      • Morie JF
      • Chance E.
      Extending the reach of health care for obesity and diabetes using virtual worlds.
      • Persky S.
      Application of virtual reality methods to obesity prevention and management research.
      • Rizzo AS
      • Lange B
      • Suma EA
      • Bolas M.
      Virtual reality and interactive digital game technology: new tools to address obesity and diabetes.
      Immersive virtual reality is becoming increasingly commonplace, with headsets commercially available and as cost-effective as a few hundred dollars, or less than the price of other popular gaming systems. Opportunities for designing immersive experiences are manifold and can encompass various aspects of the food choice spectrum, including but not limited to grocery stores, buffets, restaurants, and clinical settings. Within the context of nutrition education, perhaps the largest benefit of iVR is the ability to experience simulated environments in a realistic and ecologically relevant manner at a 1:1 scale, realistically simulating food. For example, individuals can practice cutting food, assembling meals, and interacting with kitchen tools appropriately. Alongside these interactive capabilities, the presentation of food models in the iVR setting has been demonstrated to elicit similar physiological and psychological (eg, cravings) responses to real-world food items.
      • Perpiñá C
      • Roncero M
      • Fernández-Aranda F
      • Jiménez-Murcia S
      • Forcano L
      • Sánchez I.
      Clinical validation of a virtual environment for normalizing eating patterns in eating disorders.
      ,
      • Torrico DD
      • Sharma C
      • Dong W
      • Fuentes S
      • Viejo CG
      • Dunshea FR.
      Virtual reality environments on the sensory acceptability and emotional responses of no- and full-sugar chocolate.
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