Avatar-based videos could help lose weight

Washington, July 1 (ANI): Watching an avatar that shows weight-loss behaviour in a virtual community could help some women get rid of the extra pounds in the real world, a new study has suggested.

Melissa Napolitano, PhD, an associate professor of prevention and community health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS), said that the pilot study showed that people don't have to be a gamer to use virtual reality to learn some important skills for weight loss.

She said that the study suggests that virtual reality could be a promising new tool for building healthier habits.

Napolitano, who did the study in collaboration with Temple's Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, and her colleagues, first conducted a survey among 128 overweight women. Most of them had tried to lose weight during the last year and the majority had never used a virtual reality game.

Despite the fact that most of these women had no experience using virtual reality or even playing online games, the researchers found that 88 percent said they would be willing to use a program with an avatar modelling habits that might give them an edge in the battle to lose weight.

Many of the study participants thought that watching an avatar could help them visualize and then put in place healthy behavior, such as taking a walk every day or picking healthy options when food shopping.

Using their extensive expertise in virtual reality, Director Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, and Giuseppe Russo, PhD, of Temple's Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, developed a virtual reality simulation featuring such an avatar.

Given that not all the woman who participated were avid tech users, the team created a DVD that showed the avatar in four real-world environments. The women did not have to manipulate the avatar, they just watched the video; however they did pick out the skin colour and shape of the avatar to more closely resemble their own appearance-a feature that might help the study participants visualize and learn a new behaviour, Napolitano said.

In the next part of the trial, the team enrolled eight overweight women in a four-week pilot test to see if watching the videos could help these women learn new skills that could lead to weight loss. The women came to the clinic once a week and watched a 15-minute DVD featuring an avatar demonstrating healthy weight loss behaviours.

After four weeks of treatment, the women in this pilot study had lost an average of 3.5 pounds, a fairly typical amount for traditional diet plans, Napolitano said.

However, the researchers hope that by watching the avatar the women using this program will be much more likely to put healthy habits in place over the long run-keep the weight off for good. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »