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From body dissatisfaction to obesity: how virtual reality may improve obesity prevention and treatment in adolescents.

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  • 1Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Lab, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy.


Different studies, including longitudinal studies, suggest a link between body dissatisfaction, unhealthful weight-control behaviors and obesity in both male and female adolescents. Here we suggest that body dissatisfaction in obese adolescents may be driven by an allocentric negative body image that is no more updated by contrasting egocentric representations driven by perception. In other words, subjects are locked to an allocentric negative representation of their body (allocentric lock hypothesis - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2011.10.039) that their sensory inputs are no more able to update even after the dramatic body changes following a successful diet. More, the possible role of virtual reality in the prevention and treatment of obesity in adolescence is presented and discussed.

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